SANTA CLARA (KCBS)— Santa Clara County’s Cold Weather Shelter Program, where the homeless can turn to emergency shelters, begins Monday.

EHC LifeBuilders, a non-profit organization, contracted to operate three emergency shelters that serve the homeless in Santa Clara County each winter.

Jennifer Van Every with EHC said certainly homelessness is an issue in the South Bay.

KCBS’ Melissa Culross Reports:

“In Santa Clara County there are over 7,000 people on any given night that are homeless,” she said.

Van Every said that number is conservative because it’s difficult to get an accurate count in such a large-sprawling county.

The shelters in San Jose, Sunnyvale and Gilroy will open on Monday and offer shelter beds and meals every night through the end of March.

Van Every said the winter program serves thousands every year, but is only part of an overall effort to combat homelessness.

“What we’re really looking at is permanent housing solutions. The key to ending homelessness, of course, is to provide people with permanent housing,” she said idealistically.

Of course EHC is only able to provide the latter to help alleviate the situation.

Van Every added that EHC is trying to increase the amount of affordable housing in Silicon Valley by working with landlords and rental managers.

(Copyright 2011 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)


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