Santa Clara County Supervisor Susan Ellenberg Comes Out for LifeMoves Project Then Leaves Meeting Early

By Robert Haugh

Santa Clara County Supervisor Susan Ellenberg spoke in favor of the LifeMoves interim housing project Tuesday night.

She read from prepared remarks and then left the meeting before the public discussion began.

Ellenberg’s Communications Director Michael Norris could not provide her prepared comments or an explanation of why she left the meeting early.

In March, Ellenberg put out a public statement saying she was listening to community concerns.  But according to neighborhood opponents of the project, her office has not been responsive to them.

The hearing on Tuesday lasted over 7 hours and was continued to May 2.


  1. Electeds usually speak to the issue w/o notes. If you’re following the issue ya don’t need cheat sheets.

  2. Santa Clara County Supervisor Susan Ellenberg is the Prime Mover and Proponent of this constantly shape-shifting proposal. It is County land. It involves tens of millions of County/State “Home Key” money. Its construction costs ($34 million) plus first seven years of operating costs ($28 million) add up to $62 million, not counting the free land. It is a complete boondoggle. With that money you could give each of the 30 “families” a $2+ million house, free and clear. Worse yet, if this highly experimental “low barriers” nursing home for ex-criminals and dope addicts goes ahead (in conjunction with the Bella Vista and Western sites) it could severely damage, if not destroy, the safety and security of West Santa Clara. Consequently, if Supervisor Ellenberg arrogantly persists in pushing this dangerous experimental boondoggle, she should be recalled.

    • Sounds like the perfect retirement home for Anthony Becker when he gets outta jail.

    • John,

      Re-do the numbers to reflect the reality that this isn’t permanent housing for thirty families. It is transitional housing to help families get back on their feet and into permanent housing. So instead of dividing the total cost over seven years by thirty try dividing it by three hundred or more.

      And then do the math on the continuing utility of the project after the seven years that you are amortizing the entire capital costs within.

      If people analyzed public works projects like you do then nothing would ever be built.

    • @Buchser Alum: sure this isn’t permanent housing for 30 families, BUT the costs are still outrageous. With the $34M in construction costs, you could buy 30 single family homes with an average size of >1500sqft each in the city and still operate them as transitional housing. This gets you a measly 600sqft with a kitchenette. And $28M in operating costs for 7 years, for what exactly?! It just doesn’t add up.

    • Just another baffled resident,

      Yes the cost of the construction is very high. New construction is very expensive especially now. The proposed development is not only housing for families but supportive transitional housing. There will be staffed services for the families and children and even three meals per day served and security and full time staffing.

      This sort of supportive housing facility needs to be purpose built and needs to be a concentrated cluster. They cannot feasibly do the same things if their clients are all spread out across several dozen homes around the city. And buying homes in Santa Clara that cost one million dollars each will mean buying condos with HOA fees and/or old rundown homes that may have the need for big capital renovations looming over them.

  3. I do not expect Ellenberg to stay and listen to hours of repetitive complaints by people that are already repeats of complaints made in several prior county meetings on this proposal.

    Many of these people complained that housing for singles and couples was not suitable for the neighborhood location and asked that it be turned into a family housing facility.

    Lifemoves changed it into a family housing facility and now the complainers are complaining that it was changed “last minute.”

    People are going to come up with any criticism they can imagine in order to argue against any proposal for transitional housing or even affordable housing. Many times they get very shameless about it like all the people who pretend that the pumpkin patch and Christmas tree lot is a big part of their lives.

  4. Ellenberg—Ms. Never Show Up! Our neighbors made lots of phone calls , and wrote many emails to her since February, and she never reply. she is hiding from meeting our neighbors, listening our concerns !

  5. Supervisor Ellenberg’s remarks are available in the following video (, starting right after time 41:07. She Zoomed in to the Council meeting with a few slides. Her remarks are short, less than 5 minutes. In her remarks, she notes that the proposed Santa Clara shelter is 1) part of a strategy providing quick, temporary housing for families who will move to longer term shelters (i.e., they have another place designated for residents) and 2) will help offload an existing shelter at 999 Hamlin Ct., which is in Sunnyvale. I used Google maps to view the Hamlin Ct. site,, which looks decent. (BTW the “hours” listed on Google maps are not correct, the shelter operates 24/7.) I would think that the successful operation of an existing shelter would ease concerns about the shelter though, if unknown, who pays for construction is an important piece of knowledge.

  6. May be Lisa Gilmore should run for Susan seat.
    Susan has shown her self to be a NO Show so many things

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