Santa Clara County Snapshot (see Morgan Hill and Gilroy specifics, below)
More than 18 percent of Silicon Valley residents live in poverty, despite the region's reputation for tech-fueled prosperity, according to a new report (Hepler).
Immigrants were disproportionately at risk for poverty, with nearly 30 percent of foreign-born Californians living below the poverty line in 2011 (Hepler).
In an area known for the obscene levels of wealth of its corporate billionaires, …working class households have also seen a massive increase in poverty since 2011. [In 2011] 10.6 percent of the population of Santa Clara County lived in poverty…. Latino and black communities had the largest percentages of poverty, at 23.6 percent and 24.2 percent respectively. In the past two years, this situation has changed for the worse ("California").
Children who grow up in poverty may experience poor health and social and cognitive development. These early-life experiences can have a profound effect on health and well-being later in life.In 2010, 13% of children in Santa Clara County lived in poverty. Of the more than 400,000 children residing in the county under the age of 18, almost 60,000 fell below the federal poverty line. When using a higher threshold for federal poverty (200% of the Federal Poverty Level), this number rises to 125,000, or 29% of all children ("Facts.").
Approximately 21% of Latino and 18% of African American children live in poverty, a higher percentage than White (6%) or Asian/Pacific Islander children (7%). The Morgan Hill rate is 18 percent, the Gilroy rate 16 percent, though both have pockets with much higher rates ("Facts.")
There were 6,556 homeless people at survey time in Santa Clara County this year. Of these, 71 percent were unsheltered. ("Homeless").23 percent were under age 18, 2/3 were male. There were 379 in Gilroy, and 61 in Morgan Hill ("2013").
The median rental price for a single one-bedroom apartment in Santa Clara County, for example, averages $1,262, while a monthly take-home paycheck for a worker at minimum wage is $1,280. The minimum wage in California is $8.00 an hour. According to the California Employment Development Department, the median cost of an existing home in Santa Clara County is $655,000 ("California").
Demand for domestic-violence related services are on the rise. The number of victims who accessed local domestic violence shelters increased from 699 in fiscal year 2010 to 795 in fiscal year 2011, while the number of those unable to access shelter increased from 1,052 to 1,842 during this time period ("Santa").
The groups most affected by violence in Santa Clara County include people of color, males, and youth/young adults ages 15-24. Females are more likely than males to experience intimate partner violence, elder maltreatment, and sexual abuse ("Santa").
Hispanics had the highest rate of domestic violence-related deaths (11 per 100,000 people) as compared to 4 per 100,000 people among Whites during the 2000-2010 timeframe. Almost three in four (73%) juveniles referred into the juvenile justice system for domestic violence offenses were Hispanic in fiscal year 2011 ("Santa").
Adult illiteracy Santa Clara 16 percent ("Adult").
Hardship Index (100 hardest, 0 easiest) Santa Clara 32.8("Adult").
A sobering new University of California survey found that nearly 1 in 5 of its students had gone hungry in the past year and that another 23 percent also were "food insecure" -- results the university released Monday with a commitment of more than $3 million to address the problem (Mercury News 3-1-16). Among the 42 percent of students UC determined to be "food insecure" -- with or without skipping meals -- 29 percent reported they had experienced difficulty studying because of hunger; about 25 percent reported having to choose between paying for food and other expenses.
Morgan Hill Assets: New library, new community center, new sports complex. High income bedroom community. Poppy Jaspar Film Festival, Mushroom Mardi Gras, July 4 parade, and Taste of Morgan Hill bring people into the community.
Morgan Hill Challenges and Needs:
- Affluence exists alongside pickets of visible, semi-visible, and invisible underserved people. There is a marked income gap.
- Human needs are often less visible because the community’s self image is of wealthy, educated residents.
- Many county resources go to Gilroy because Morgan Hill is perceived as not needing them. Fewer agencies serve Morgan Hill than other cities in the county, and many that do exist don’t deal with human services so much as issues such as creating dog parks or supporting Coe State Park. Agencies such as the American Red Cross and Center for Living with Dying have had to close their offices in town due to costs.
- Existing nonprofits are often single-issue and rarely collaborate. The fact that many residents commute elsewhere to work makes it hard for them to know about or support local non-profits.
- Isolation of low income groups—low income housing is clustered in a few places.
- Small numbers of immigrants from many countries tend to be isolated in the area. There are not enough bilingual services.
- There is a considerable ethnic divide in Morgan Hill.
- The rate of domestic violence in Morgan Hill is the highest reported in the county. Morgan Hill schools expend $4,781 per student. The state average is around $7,800. Quality of education, while high compared to that in Gilroy, does not meet expectations of bedroom arrivals, who have created opportunities for private and charter schools to the detriment of public schools
- There is no hospital in town since the closure of the community’s hospital
- Hate incidents and crimes may go unreported or under-reported. Gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered youth are at particularly high risk, and report that problems persist in the school system.
- Small businesses are concerned about the city's incentives to big box store and by shoppers’ choices to go there and elsewhere outside the city.
- People generally go north for the arts. Downtown Association has addressed some aesthetic needs and parking issues but there is much to do still.
- There is a lack of “connective tissue” for various groups in community, little community feeling or participation among many people, most of whom don’t read the local paper.
- Gilroy Assets: Strong faith community with volunteer power when tasks are presented; high pride of place; attractive location and climate; Garlic Festival, unusual Gilroy Gardens theme park; participation in excellent Santa Clara County Library system.
- Glroy Challenges and Needs:
- Gilroy usually has the highest negative risk indicators in the county—highest rate of homelessness, lowest median income, most reports of child abuse, second highest rate of domestic violence (Morgan Hill rate is higher), schools lowest achieving in county, highest rate of juvenile offenders violating their probation agreements because of a lack of services, most recividism, least substance abuse treatment for youth.
- A number of county services to Gilroy, such as public health nursing, have been cut or eliminated. Non-profits struggle to provide services and have no opportunity to do long-range planning, development, or follow-up with clients.
- Vestiges of agricultural heritage remain, but Silicon Valley has not really technologised the community. While Gilroy is a bedroom for Silicon Valley, many bedroom migrants are not connected to community.
- There are too few high paying jobs; the local Office of Economic Development focuses on retail jobs.
- Even “affordable” housing is not very affordable; heavy subsidies needed for poorest families reliant on public benefits. Much shared housing that is substandard and crowded. Immigrants in particular are vulnerable to exploitative arrangements and do not have access to information about their rights, or to legal aid.
- There is no shelter for single individuals year round, but a surprisingly high number of homeless people.
- Public transportation cuts have made that a difficult option for South County residents. Many elderly and poor people depend on costly taxi service.
- High demand for food aid. 1800 people served monthly with nutritional supplemental food, 10,000 bagged lunches a year, 10,000 hot meals including on holidays each year for homeless, unhoused individuals and very low-income members; 2,700 hot meals to seniors with limited incomes, serves 50 seniors with weekly shuttle.
- Ethnic divides exists in the community.
- Literacy needs of immigrant and native-born populations are diverse and significant.
- Hate incidents and crimes may go unreported or under-reported. Gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered youth are at particularly high risk. GLTB people are often closeted in Gilroy though they may be out at schools or jobs elsewhere.
- Obesity rates are reportedly the highest in county, at 31 percent.
- There is a big need for mental health services. Mental health and behavioral issues of children in school are particularly underaddressed. “An estimated 10 percent of Gilroy students need counseling for various mental and emotional health issues, said Eleanor Villarreal, director of funding and development for Rebekah Children’s Services. Those students will be referred by Rebekah’s health center housed on the Eliot Elementary School campus as well as counselors elsewhere in the school district. "
- Gilroy schools expend $4,666 per student, lower than the California average of $7942 in 2005 (State of). Schools don’t score well on standardized tests compared to statewide rates. There are plans for a second high school. Elementary schools are under-enrolled and one has recently closed.
- Students report differential treatment based on ethnicity in schools.
- There are few attractive after-school identity-building and activity youth programs. Sports programs at the schools require family expenditures that many families cannot afford.
- The gang problem is treated after the fact rather than preventatively in the police department; schools crack down on colors but sometimes punish the wrong students and create a negative learning environment in their quest for safety.
- Meth use is high in 19-25 year old population.
- Gilroy has the most teen pregnancies in the county. Pregnancies are seen as Latina problem because live births, rather than total pregnancies (some may be terminated) are counted.
- Mainstream and fundamentalist faith communities each have their own ecclesiastical councils, which don’t collaborate with one another; there is a clear division in the religious community between mainstream and fundamentalist congregations. Also Gilroy has both a Chamber of Commerce and, due to a legacy of historical divisions, a Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.
- Little coordination with Morgan Hill and San Benito county on transportation, data collection, or other needs
- Spanish language media are needed to reach many people in need of information.
- There are few environmental groups active in Gilroy, and data is lacking. We do know that Gilroy’s air quality is significantly worse than the national average. On a scale of 100, with a high score associated with good quality, Gilroy’s air scored a very low 9, compared to 48 as the national average in 2007. Water quality was somewhat better, though not excellent, with a score of 40 compared to the national average of 55. Gilroy is also relatively close to a number of Silicon Valley Superfund sites, giving it a low score of 10 on the Superfund scale, compared to 71, the national average. (Zip Code 95020 Health)
- The city has a relatively high rate of violent crime, compared to the US average. On a scale from 1 (low crime) to 10, Gilroy ranks as a 4 in terms of murder and non-negligent manslaughter, forcible rape, robbery, and aggravated assault. The US average is 3. Property crime in Gilroy is even more prevalent: on the same scale, Gilroy ranks as a 5. Property crime includes burglary, larceny-theft, motor vehicle theft, and arson. Again, the US average is 3 (Zip Code 95020 Crime).