A man stands in the hallway of San Jose City Hall
Sunnyvale Vice Mayor Omar Din is running for Assembly District 26. Photo by Jana Kadah.

Residents are questioning claims in a recent campaign ad from state Assembly candidate Omar Din that he helped create homeless shelters in San Jose.

The advertisement asserts Din — Sunnyvale’s vice mayor and a candidate for Assembly District 26 — will prioritize public safety and includes examples of his past work, ranging from increasing funding for police and firefighters in his time on the Sunnyvale City Council, to creating “200 new homeless shelters in San Jose.”

His campaign website touts the accomplishment as creating “200 new homeless shelters units.”

Din’s campaign funds the ad and has spent nearly $95,900 on campaign mailers, according to the campaign’s expenditure reports.

While Din did help 200 tiny homes for unhoused residents gain approval last year at VTA’s Cerone yard, they are not homeless shelters that house hundreds of unhoused people, such as the Boccardo Reception Center in San Jose run by homelessness nonprofit HomeFirst. The tiny homes also have not been built yet.

A campaign mailer for Assemblymember District 26 hopeful Omar Din that asserts he will prioritize public safety and has created 200 homeless shelters in San Jose.
One side of Assemblymember District 26 hopeful Omar Din’s mailer claiming he created 200 homeless shelters.

Din said the issue is a matter of wording and does not miscommunicate his efforts to address homelessness.

“Terms like shelters and tiny homes are used interchangeably in the housing industry and by news outlets like the Mercury News, CalMatters and even San José Spotlight itself,” he told San José Spotlight. “While others can obsess over the silliness of semantics, I’m focused on actual solutions to help the unhoused into safe places to live.”

The Sunnyvale City Council did increase the police and fire budget with Din on the dais. The police and fire department had budgets of more than $30.2 million and roughly $29.7 million respectively for fiscal year 2022-23. In the 2023-24 fiscal year budget, the police department’s budget increased to roughly $32.4 million and the fire department’s increased to roughly $31.8 million.

Din is running for the seat in the March 5 primaries — following District 26 Assemblymember Evan Low’s decision to run for Congress in District 16 — along with other hopefuls Patrick Ahrens, Low’s district director, and Santa Clara County Board of Education Trustee Tara Sreekrishnan.

The assembly race will head to a runoff in the November election between the top two vote-getters in California’s primary election.

The district includes Sunnyvale, Cupertino, Santa Clara and small parts of San Jose.

Contact Annalise Freimarck at [email protected] or follow @annalise_ellen on X, formerly known as Twitter.

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