San Jose Mayor Matt Mahan to deliver his 1st State of the City address Saturday

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Saturday, October 21, 2023
SJ mayor to deliver his 1st State of the City address Saturday
San Jose Mayor Matt Mahan will deliver his first State of the City address on Saturday.

SAN JOSE, Calif. (KGO) -- San Jose Mayor Matt Mahan will deliver his first State of the City Address on Saturday.

This year, Mahan plans to focus on four goals in his speech: Reducing crime, ending homelessness for folks on the street, cleaning up San Jose and improving investment opportunities.

"I built my budget message around these and we in fact we passed a budget that emphasizes these four pillars," Mahan said.

Mahan said he's excited to share the progress they've made and where they need to go from here.

"I'm proud of the progress we've made this year in reducing unsheltered homelessness - in fact the number of people living outside is down 10% year over year and we're just getting started," Mahan said.

With progress, there's also room for improvement. Homeless advocate Todd Langton of Agape Silicon Valley shared his thoughts on what the mayor does well.

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"What I like about what Mahan has done, is he's treated it like the crisis it is. It is a humanitarian crisis and he's gone after it," Langton said.

He listed interim housing sites.

"The Guadalupe Village, the transitional housing, the Arena Hotel, some of the successes VTA Cerone property," Langton said.

But Langton said homeless abatements, or sweeps are something that needs work.

"You can't just post a poster and say hey, you got to be out of here in a week or two. You need to have two other parts to that abatement - they've got to have somewhere to go," Langton said.

Agape Silicon Valley is 100% volunteer-based. On the last Saturday morning of each month, the organization delivers food, water and supplies to different unhoused communities. Langton said they also create an intake form to help connect those who are unhoused to benefits or resources.

MORE: SJ's new public dashboard details progress, problems addressing homelessness

"I'm surprised and shocked on how difficult it is for an unhoused person to go through all that paperwork, and all those steps and procedures to get into housing. When I look at the whole situation I shake my head and go - no wonder we have a major dysfunctional homeless program across the state and right here in Santa Clara County," Langton said.

Langton said there are too many silos that need to be more organized with the city and county.

"A lot of these nonprofits and the agencies and the city, cities and the county are working independently of each other in many, many ways. There's some good overlapping going on but way too many silos," Langton said.

One area the city invests in is the Vision Zero program which aims to cut down on traffic deaths.

A member from the Silicon Valley Bike Coalition said this past year she's seen more city investment in individual neighborhoods.

But more funding could be put to good use.

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"We need more funding of all of our priorities, but the truth is - we never have as many resources as we would like," Mahan said.

The mayor said right now the things we must do is ensure that our neighborhoods are safe and that everyone lives indoors.

He said when the city becomes an easier place to invest - everything else becomes possible.

"Speeding up permitting and inspections and being a simpler, easier place to do business so our small businesses can thrive, employers can move into San Jose and we can grow our tax base which is what we need to do if we want to do everything else that we hope to do," Mahan said.

Mahan's address at noon is open to the public at San Jose Community College.

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