San Jose: New home for homeless women and children opens
Mayor Sam Liccardo, Nanette Kinkade and Glen Peterson of CityTeam cut the ribbon for House of Light opening. Photo by Fernanda De Velasco.

With rising housing costs exacerbating California’s severe homeless crisis, the Kinkade Family Foundation and CityTeam on Thursday teamed up to open a new home for homeless women and children in San Jose.

After the 2012 death of Thomas Kinkade, an American artist known as “the Painter of Light,” his family started the Kinkade Family Foundation to honor his memory by helping people in need.

CityTeam is one of the largest faith-based nonprofit organizations in the Bay Area known for its work with women who are experiencing homelessness.

During the grand opening Thursday, CityTeam President Glen Peterson and San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo were both on hand to welcome 14 homeless women and children into their new homes.

The new home shelters women with children who have ​experienced addiction, abuse or homelessness. Officials said beds have been delivered, a garden planted, pots and dishes are ready to serve homemade meals and Thomas Kinkade prints cover the walls.

The Kinkade Family Foundation expressed interest in funding a new house in the South Bay since Dec. 2018, officials said. Nanette Kinkade, president of Kinkade Family Foundation, got a call from a friend early last year to share good news — she had secured a new home in San Jose for the highly-anticipated project.

“She called me and said it is an old victorian with 7 bedrooms and 6 bathrooms, it is perfect for a group home,” Kinkade said Thursday. “We named it ‘The House of Light’ in honor of my late husband who was known as the painter of light. It is our prayer that this home will always be filled with light and joy.”

Melody Albarado, manager of CityTeam’s housing programs, said San Jose was the dream location for the home because of all the opportunities that can be found here. When the organization got a chance to help women in need, she added, it quickly partnered with Kinkade Family Foundation to make the dream come true.

“We have been working for about a year, but we have had a lot of partners and volunteers,” Albarado told San José Spotlight.

Liccardo said families with children represent one-third of all people experiencing homelessness in the U.S. “In a few days we are going to celebrate the life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.,” Liccardo said during the event Thursday. “And it was MLK who said so well that, everybody can be great because anybody can serve. More than 1,000 women and children since 1984 have been assisted through CityTeam programs.”

Rene, a formerly homeless mother of a 1-year-old baby, is among the 14 residents moving into the house this week.

“This house gives me a lot of opportunities for me and my family. It gives me the opportunity to be responsible and really become an adult,” Rene told San José Spotlight.

Interestingly, CityTeam once owned the San Jose building — now called “The House of Light” — and used it to shelter at-risk boys, bringing the transition full circle for the longtime charitable organization.

“We dug up the paperwork, and almost 50 years to this day was when we closed up that transaction,” Peterson said. “This house was meant to be.”

Contact San José Spotlight intern Fernanda De Velasco at fernanda.develascojimenez@sjsu.edu.

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