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F5: Good Neighbor Program: Encampment Cleanup*

About This Project

This project supports Valley Water’s independent efforts and ongoing coordination with local cities and agencies to clean up trash, debris and hazardous pollutants generated by encampments near waterways or on Valley Water property. Such encampments contribute to contamination of waterways and damage to Valley Water facilities. This project includes cooperative efforts to partner with local municipalities and other agencies for services related to encampment cleanups and to help provide alternatives to homelessness.

This project will also provide funding for local municipalities’ services supporting staff safety as they work around encampments and discouraging re-encampments along waterways.

 

*This project was voter approved as part of the Safe, Clean Water and Natural Flood Protection Program.

Illegal Encampment
Datapoints
Status
Modified
Location
Countywide
Schedule
Start FY 2022 / Finish FY 2036
Funding
Safe, Clean Water Fund ($38.7 million)
News and UpdatesNews and Updates
Reports and DocumentsReports and Documents
Environmental and Community BenefitsEnvironmental and Community Benefits
History and BackgroundHistory and Background
News & Updates

Public Hearing on Proposed Modification to the Good Neighbor Program: Encampment Cleanup Project

When: July 13, 2021 at 1:00 p.m.

Where: Teleconference via Zoom link https://valleywater.zoom.us/j/89277884503              

The primary objective of Project F5: Good Neighbor Program: Encampment Cleanup project is to remove trash, debris, and hazardous pollutants generated from encampments near waterways or on Valley Water property.

Under the project, the cleanup of encampments is linked to the removal of structures. However, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, many restrictions have been placed on the type of cleanup activities that can be performed in relation to encampments. In turn, it has been challenging to partner with agencies on encampment site cleanups.

Additionally, recent case law has highlighted legal limitations relating to the removal of illegal encampments. Recent cases have cited and relied upon the Center for Disease Control (CDC) guidance regarding encampments during the COVID-19 pandemic to limit when encampment abatements can proceed. These limitations have curtailed the removal of illegal encampments and displacement of the people living in those encampments for the time being.

In effect, the CDC’s COVID-19 pandemic restrictions and the associated legal restrictions on the removal of illegal encampments has currently halted the work of the Good Neighbor Program: Encampment Cleanup project, under which an encampment cleanup is associated with the removal of encampment structures.

Furthermore, through education and increased awareness, staff has recognized that people living in illegal encampments may identify the encampment site as their home and feel a sense of community there. In turn, while these individuals are without a house or lack a place to live, they prefer not to be referred to as homeless.

To align the renewed Safe, Clean Water Program with these changing conditions, staff is proposing a modification to both key performance indicators (KPIs), along with text adjustments to both Glossary definitions and the project’s description and benefits. For more information on the public hearing, please contact Jennifer Codianne at (408) 630-3876 or by email at [email protected].

Proposed Modifications for Renewed Safe, Clean Water

As per the Safe, Clean Water Program’s Change Control Process, staff is recommending the proposed modifications as shown below. It is important to note that the proposed modification to KPI 1 does not impact Valley Water’s level of service, but rather changes the way the service is measured. Further, the modified KPI 1 will allow Valley Water the flexibility to operate both under these new restrictions and beyond.

Modified text: KPIs 1 and 2

  1. Manage 300 acres annually to clean up trash, debris, and hazardous pollutants generated from encampments and to reduce the amount of these pollutants entering streams.
  2. Provide up to $500,000 per year in cost-share with local agencies for services related to encampment cleanups, including services supporting staff safety, discouraging re-encampments along waterways or addressing the socio-environmental crisis with the goal of reducing the need for encampment cleanups.

Access the board agenda memo at http://scvwd.legistar.com/gateway.aspx?m=l&id=/matter.aspx?key=7970.

For more information:

Reports & Documents

No current documents.

Environmental & Community Benefits

FY22-36 Key Performance Indicator for the Safe, Clean Water Program 

  1. Manage 300 acres annually to cleanup trash, debris, and hazardous pollutants generated from encampments and to reduce the amount of these pollutants entering streams.

  2. Provide up to $500,000 per year in cost-share with local agencies for services related to encampment cleanups, including services supporting staff safety, discouraging re-encampments along waterways or addressing the homelessness crisis with the goal of reducing the need for encampment cleanups.

Benefits

  • Reduces the accumulation of trash, debris, and hazardous pollutants in local waterways, including streams, wetlands, and water utility facilities (e.g. percolation ponds)

  • Protects Valley Water facilities and reduces flood risk

  • Improves the aesthetics of creeks in neighborhoods and along trails

  • Coordinates Valley Water’s efforts with multiple agencies to create lasting solutions to reduce encampments near waterways

Geographic Area of Benefit 

Countywide 

History & Background

About the Safe, Clean Water and Natural Flood Protection Program

In November 2020, voters in Santa Clara County overwhelmingly approved Measure S, a renewal of Valley Water’s Safe, Clean Water and Natural Flood Protection Program.

The program was first passed by voters in 2000 as the Clean, Safe Creeks and Natural Flood Protection Plan, then again in 2012 as the Safe, Clean Water and Natural Flood Protection Program. The renewal of the Safe, Clean Water Program will continue to provide approximately $47 million annually for local projects that deliver safe, clean water, natural flood protection, and environmental stewardship to all the communities we serve in Santa Clara County.

While evaluating ways to improve the 2012 program, Valley Water gathered feedback from more than 21,000 community members. That helped Valley Water create the six priorities for the renewed Safe, Clean Water Program, which are:

  • Priority A: Ensure a Safe, Reliable Water Supply
  • Priority B: Reduce Toxins, Hazards and Contaminants in our Waterways
  • Priority C: Protect our Water Supply and Dams from Earthquakes and Other Natural Disasters
  • Priority D: Restore Wildlife Habitat and Provide Open Space
  • Priority E: Provide Flood Protection to Homes, Businesses, Schools, Streets and Highways
  • Priority F: Support Public Health and Public Safety for Our Community

Each year, Valley Water prepares a report providing a progress update for each of these program priorities, along with fiscal year accomplishments.

To ensure transparency and accountability to the voters, the ballot measure also created an Independent Monitoring Committee, appointed by the Santa Clara Valley Water District Board of Directors. The Independent Monitoring Committee annually reviews the program’s progress to ensure the outcomes are achieved in a cost-efficient manner and reports its findings to the Board. Additionally, the IMC also reviews each proposed 5-year implementation plan prior to its submittal for Board approval.

In addition, the program requires three independent audits.

View the Safe, Clean Water Program’s annual reports, annual IMC audit reports, and independent audits, including a staff response, on the Valley Water website.