Santa Clara County approves novel trauma recovery center

Grace Goes on an Adventure

Following the deadly mass shooting at Santa Clara's Valley Transportation Authority (VTA) rail yard just three months ago, the county now strives to provide trauma recovery services for survivors of violent crimes and other traumatic events.

On Tuesday evening at the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors' meeting, the board approved the two-pronged proposal, first recommended by supervisor Cindy Chavez after the tragedy.

Chavez's proposal recommends providing immediate trauma-related services to the VTA employees and their families recovering from the mass shooting. Further, the proposal includes the creation of a Trauma Recovery Center for survivors of violent crimes and other traumatic events such as wildfires, the COVID-19 pandemic, flooding, and more.

Chavez — who is also a VTA board member — recommended to the board for the Center for Living With Dying and Dr. Tammy McCoy-Arballo in working with the VTA employees and family members who have continued to experience PTSD following the tragedy.

“We know that trauma, if left untreated, can contribute to long-term health risks, substance use, financial and housing instability, loss of employment, and other challenges,” said Chavez.
Mayor Sam Liccardo kneels before a makeshift memorial to the victims of the VTA shooting in front of San Jose's City Hall.Haven Daley / Associated Press

On May 26, the shooting took place at the VTA rail yard in San Jose, leading to the death of 10 people, all of whom were VTA employees ranging from 29 to 63 years old. The gunman was a former VTA employee. It is the deadliest mass shooting on record in the San Francisco Bay Area.

In the immediate aftermath of the shooting, a hotline was set up for VTA employees and family members to share any additional information regarding the tragedy or the victims. San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo expressed his sincere condolences to the families and worked with the San Jose City Council to make plans to introduce a resolution commemorating the victims' lives.

On June 29, the City Council unanimously approved proposed gun owner liability insurance requirement legislation. Liccardo further met with President Joe Biden on July 12 to discuss further strategies on combatting gun violence nationwide.

San Jose-based transportation advocate Monica Mallon tweeted her support of the measure as it was being evaluated during Tuesday's virtual meeting.

Supervisor Otto Lee further thanked supporters for helping to bring this issue to the forefront, and to move the needle forward in getting more mental health support for the affected parties.

The County's District Attorney Jeff Rosen confirmed the center would be funded with grant and general fund money.

City administration will report back with next steps on the proposal on Sept. 14.

Follow Grace on Twitter for more Bay Area updates: @grace_m_stetson.

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Hi there! I'm Grace Stetson, an affordability correspondent and freelance journalist based in the San Francisco Bay Area. I recently moved back to my hometown after a few years of living in Chicago, IL, and Brooklyn, NYC, and there's a lot more to see than I originally expected. With that, I'm going out and about from as far south as Monterey to as far north as Marin to find you the best hidden gems, backwoods trails, and delicious eats across the Bay. Come join me on this adventure!

Sunnyvale, CA

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