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Free Text Message Alert System is Lifeline for Homeless during Disasters

SANTA CLARA COUNTY, CALIF.—Homeless people who survive by living on the streets, in recreational vehicles, parked cars, creekside encampments or freeway onramps are constantly in harm’s way from exposure to the elements, potential physical attacks and social isolation. The County Office of Supportive Housing’s staff has created a lifeline for these at-risk individuals by using a text message alert system (Alert Santa Clara County) to convey critical disaster alerts and weather warnings. Staff also uses the system to direct people to life-saving resources such as food, shelter and medical care.

The 2017 Santa Clara County Homeless Census and Survey found a total of 7,394 individuals experiencing homelessness on the night January 24th and 25th. This represents an increase of 13% since 2015.

“We encourage all service providers, shelter personnel, case managers and outreach teams to share the information about this free service so that individuals in need of shelter, especially in times of inclement weather, can learn of shelter opportunities,” said Supervisor Dave Cortese, President of the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors.

Registration for the text message alert system, Alert Santa Clara County, is simple:

  • Simply address a text message to: 888777
  • Type HOMELESS in the message
  • Send the message

In just an instant, the sender is enrolled in the Alert Santa Clara County system and will receive text messages linking them to critical information and services.

For more details, visit: Alert Santa Clara County.

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The County of Santa Clara government serves a diverse, multi-cultural population of 1.9 million residents in Santa Clara County, the fifth largest county in California. With a $6.5 billion budget and more than 70 agencies/departments and 20,000 employees, the County of Santa Clara plans for the needs of a dynamic community, provides quality services, and promotes a healthy, safe and prosperous community for all. The County provides essential services including public health protection, environmental protection, medical services through Santa Clara Valley Medical Center (SCVMC), child and adult protection services, homelessness prevention and treatment, roads, park services, libraries, emergency response to disasters, protection of minority communities and those under threat, access to a fair criminal justice system, and scores of other services, particularly for those members of our community in the greatest need.

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Media Contact: Patty Eaton, Office of Emergency Services, Office: (408) 808-7818; Cell: (408) 386-3055; Michelle Covert, Office of Supportive Housing, (408) 793-0501.

Posted: July 6, 2017

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Last updated: 12/18/2017 5:04 PM