The 180 Together initiative is a county-wide collaborative effort that focuses on ending chronic homelessness in Santa Cruz County.
Chronic Homelessness and Permanent Supportive Housing
Chronic homelessness is defined as experiencing homelessness many times, or for at least a year, while struggling with a disabling condition that affects their ability to get or retain housing.
More often than not, these individuals need continuing support to stay housed, whether in the form of case management, financial support, or mental or physical health support. Sometimes this is due to issues that led to their homelessness, sometimes it is because the realities of being chronically homeless can take an enormous toll on a person’s ability to be self-sufficient.
Fortunately, there is a type of housing specifically for people who need support indefinitely. It’s called permanent supportive housing, and it provides the most vulnerable members of our community with the resources they need to lead stable, fruitful lives.
You can learn more homelessness and housing lingo on our Lingo information sheet >
Learn more about who is homeless in Santa Cruz County from the biannual Point In Time (or PIT) Count >
180 Together Background
In 2012, as part of the National 100,000 Homes Campaign, Housing Matters (then known as Homeless Services Center) began the 180/180 Initiative, a collaboration with dozens of other agencies (see list below). The 180/180 Campaign aimed to house 180 of the most medically vulnerable, chronically homeless people in the county between late 2012 and July 2014, and turn their lives around 180 degrees.
By July 2014, 180/180 had exceeded that goal by housing over 200 people. With the momentum, support and dedication of service providers, community members and volunteers, the successful initiative became 180/2020 and has placed over 1000 people in homes to date, most of whom are part of the most vulnerable homeless population in Santa Cruz County.
Renamed in September 2020, the 180 Together initiative continues to celebrate the “180-degree change” idea from the initiative’s inception, while pointing to a future of ongoing collaboration. We will continue to work hand-in-hand with our agency partners to serve the most vulnerable members of our community, through a variety of projects and efforts in the coming months and years.
Today, 180 Together is continuing to work with local community members, along with city and county organizations to expand its scope to ensure that everyone is housed and healthy. The initiative is also participating in the Built for Zero Campaign with the National Alliance to End Homelessness by setting goals and using strategies to achieve our vision that homelessness in Santa Cruz County should be rare, brief and non-recurring.
Housing Matters is the lead agency for 180 Together.
Worked with Santa Cruz Housing Authority to establish a voucher preference for chronically homeless individuals who are the most vulnerable
Established Housing Workshops, that assist persons or people experiencing homelessness
Secured local funding for two new Permanent Supportive Housing Case Managers
Created bi-monthly multi-agency Housing Work Group gatherings to marshal resources to house the most vulnerable
1000 people housed as of September 21, 2020!
180 Together Partner Agencies
Association of Faith Communities
Central Coast Center for Independent Living
Community Action Board
Downtown Streets Team
Encompass Community Services
Families in Transition
Front Street, Inc.
Grace Harbor (Teen Challenge Monterey Bay)
Homeless Garden Project
Homeless Persons Health Project
Housing Authority of the County of Santa Cruz
Pajaro Valley Shelter Services
Saint Vincent De Paul Society
Santa Cruz AIDS Project
Santa Cruz Community Health Centers
The County of Santa Cruz
United Way of Santa Cruz
Volunteer housing navigators
Walnut Avenue Family and Women’s Center
Landlords, we need your help.
180 Together provides landlords participating in the HCV (Housing Choice Voucher) program resources and information to provide low-income families access to decent, safe and affordable housing in the neighborhood of their choice. Rental assistance payments are sent directly to the landlord on behalf of a participating individual or family. The individual or family then pays their tenant portion of the rent directly to the landlord.
We also partner with mental health agencies, developmental disability service agencies, independent living centers, housing authorities, homeless service agencies and many other community resources. Through this collaborative effort, participants receive the combined benefits of flexible supportive services and rental assistance.
By renting to a 180 client – and saying “yes” to a voucher – you can help vulnerable homeless individuals and families stabilize their lives and start on a path to improved health, well-being, and community integration.
What are the benefits of renting to a 180 client?
Guaranteed, on-time, rent payments — The Housing Authority makes the voucher subsidy payments directly into your bank account every month
Case management — Clients have a Case Manager you can call in the event of a problem or issue that requires their attention
Streamlined lease-up process with the help of Housing Specialists
Landlord incentives — See the Housing Authority website for additional information >
If you are interested in learning more, or have an available unit, please contact:
Maile Earnest, 180 Together Program Manager
We’ve housed 1000 people to date through this initiative alone, and we’re just getting started. Dig in to learn more about 180 Together, chronic homelessness, and how we can resolve homelessness together.
+–Watch: Homelessness Is #Solvable | Rosanne Haggerty
The first step to getting involved in resolving homelessness in your community is getting informed. Learning about homelessness can break down barriers, make you question your assumptions, and empower you to speak openly with your friends and family about solutions.
+–Watch: 5-Year Anniversary — 700 people housed and counting
The work we do would not be possible without your support. From self-education, to advocacy, to volunteering, to donating, we call on each and every member of our community to take action — in some form — to help resolve homelessness together.