San Jose commits to end homelessness, lacks 80% of funding, will consider and respond to public banking & monetary reform initiatives

Newly-elected San Jose mayor, Sam Liccardo, committed to end homelessness in his 2015 inaugural address:

We face a crisis of homelessness. But we’re from San Jose. We can and we must leverage the Valley’s incomparable innovative spirit and resources to end homelessness in our lifetimes.

… Innovation, of course, doesn’t come easy. Innovation takes risk, and risk requires courage. Collectively, we must muster the courage:

  • to try what has been untried;
  • to open our city’s workings to public scrutiny;
  • … and, above all, to fail, to learn, and to endeavor again.

… I conclude by extending an invitation to each of you: Join me in re-imagining San Jose.

In his State of the city address, he provided data we confirmed with the mayor’s policy analyst, Dylan Simon:

  • San Jose has ~4,000 homeless residents.
  • 839 of the San Jose homeless are housed; ~ 20%.
  • The current budget of $3.5 million for this policy area maintains current status, leaving over 3,000 San Jose residents homeless. Dylan states that budgets for the city, county, and state do not allow for full funding.

I teach in San Jose. My Hoover Middle School Math 8 students accept Mayor Liccardo’s invitation, and offer innovations in public banking (and here, here) and monetary reform to fully fund the proven programs that end homelessness while saving money.

Dylan accepted our invitation to be educated on public banking and monetary reform (we’ve already worked with him for a month on these two ideas). I’ve reached-out to the Public Banking Institute to contact Dylan, and informed Dylan that I’ll keep writing until Mayor Liccardo has developed a public policy position.

Some helpful background (more here):

Utah has reduced homelessness by 78%, and has targeted ending homelessness this year.

The US federal agency, US Interagency Council on Homelessness states all 50+ economic cost-benefit studies conclude it costs less to provide homeless Americans with shelter, food, health care, and job training than doing nothing at all.

The greatest savings come from decreased emergency room visits, police calls, and court time. What isn’t counted, and significant, is the increase of business in areas where the homeless are vagrants.  In addition, these studies show most participants find jobs and leave these programs.

A 2014 study in Florida reports taxpayers save over $20,000 per homeless person when they are provided basic services rather than languishing on the streets. An academic paper from two University of Pennsylvania professors document it’s more cost-effective to end homelessness than endure it.

Richard Cho, US Interagency Council on Homelessness Policy Director, documents similar studies from New York CityBoston, Denver, Seattle, Chicago, San FranciscoLos Angeles, with smaller cities in Connecticut, and rural areas in Maine that all research have found it’s more cost-effective, intelligent, and moral to end homelessness.

Given that all 50+ professional studies conclude we save money by ending homelessness, all US communities should enact policies to do so.

Given that all communities have problems with funding public programs, even those that save money in the long-term like infrastructure and education, we should also enact monetary reform and public banking for funding.


Carl Herman is a National Board Certified Teacher of US Government, Economics, and History. He worked with both US political parties over 18 years and two UN Summits with the citizen’s lobby, RESULTS, for US domestic and foreign policy to end poverty. He can be reached at

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  • Bernhard Voelkelt

    Not to mention working towards eliminating homelessness is a decent human thing to do.