non-residential services

Housing Matters recognizes that there as many different pathways to permanent housing as there are people. Each person’s individual circumstances will require different services and strategies. As such, there are a variety of programs available through Housing Matters, each designed to serve a different demographic and level of need.

The first step to accessing services is by completing the Smart Path Assessment. This is a coordinated entry tool used throughout the county, to ensure people are quickly and effectively connected with the programs that are most appropriate for them. Call (831) 458-6020 to make an appointment for an intake assessment through Housing Matters. You may also visit us at 115 Coral Street in Santa Cruz to make an appointment, though in light of coronavirus precautions, phone calls are preferred when possible. If you prefer, you can complete the Smart Path Assessment at one of the many access points throughout the county.

Our most robust set of programs are our housing programs, which work directly toward connecting individuals and family with permanent housing. We also offer day services to the entire community, whether an individual is participating in a housing or employment program or not.

housing services

There are three main types of housing programs available, each following the Housing First model. Housing First is an internationally recognized best practice that focuses on connecting individuals and families with permanent housing, without preconditions or barriers to entry.

Permanent Supportive Housing (PSH) is a type of program that serves our most vulnerable community members, including veterans and chronically homeless individuals and families. PSH is available for our neighbors who may need supportive services indefinitely, due to a disability or other long-term circumstance.

Rapid Re-housing (RRH) is a type of program designed to quickly assist individuals and families in returning to permanent housing. These community members do not need long-term, ongoing support; rather, they are able to stabilize and become self-sufficient after a brief period of support.

Diversion is a strategy which helps people seeking shelter avoid homelessness by assisting them in identifying immediate alternate housing arrangements. In some cases, services and/or financial assistance is provided to ensure they can quickly connect to permanent housing. Diversion programs can reduce the number of people experiencing homelessness and the wait lists for other services.

+Permanent supportive housing programs

180/2020 is a multi-agency collaborative effort, established in 2012 to address chronic and veteran homelessness in Santa Cruz County, with an initial goal of housing 180 of our most vulnerable neighbors — the program has now housed over 800 people. Through case management and long-term support, chronically homeless individuals and families are connected with permanent, stable, sustainable housing.

+Rapid re-housing programs

CalWORKs Housing Assistance Move-in Program, or CHAMP, is designed to meet the needs of CalWORKs families who are experiencing homelessness. By working with case managers, CHAMP participants develop specific skills to help them obtain and sustain permanent housing.

Bringing Families Home (BFH) is specifically for families who are involved with the dependency system, with a goal of increasing family reunification and preventing foster care placement. Through a referral by their social worker, families can access case management and supportive services to help them regain stable and permanent housing.

Supportive Services for Veterans and their Families (SSVF) provides outreach and case management to veterans and their families who are experiencing homelessness. SSVF focuses first on getting veterans and their families housed, and also provides short-term supportive services to ensure long-term stability in their homes.

+Diversion programs

Homeward Bound is designed to prevent people from experiencing homelessness if they have permanent housing options and a support system outside of Santa Cruz County. The program assists participants in identifying stable housing and employment opportunities in their home communities, and after thorough verification, provides transportation assistance.

employment programs

Through a partnership with the County of Santa Cruz, we offer the CalFresh Employment Training (CFET) program. CalFresh participants may be referred to the program, at which point they receive employment case management designed to increase their job readiness and to address the participant’s specific needs through an individualized case plan. Participants are encouraged, inspired, and taught the skills needed to get a job and to keep it. Skills include resume writing, interviewing, how to dress, and how to discuss a criminal background. Participants may also be eligible for temporary resources, such as bus passes and short-term rental assistance.

day services

Our day services are open to the entire community, regardless of participation in a housing or employment program.

+Hot showers and hygiene bay

Our campus is home to a hygiene bay with restrooms and hot showers. Towels and basic toiletries can be provided. The showers are open daily from 7:00am to 3:00pm, and restrooms are open 24 hours per day, 7 days a week.

Take Action: Socks, underwear, and hygiene items are always needed. Make a donation or view our Amazon Wish List.

+Mail room

Without a physical address, receiving important mail can be challenging, at best. We provide mail accounts to those experiencing homelessness at no cost. Our mail room currently serves over 500 individuals, and is open from 10:00am to 2:00pm, Monday through Friday.

+Additional day services

The following services are provided on our campus by other organizations, or intermittently by Housing Matters.

  • CalFresh enrollment connects individuals and families with CalFresh benefits, formerly known as food stamps.
  • Housing workshops, conducted by Housing Matters, provide the tools and support needed for individuals to move toward permanent, stable housing.
  • Homeless Persons’ Health Project is a full-service primary health center run by the County of Santa Cruz, located on our campus.
  • Dientes Community Dental Care provides full dental services at no cost.
  • River Street Shelter is a 32-bed emergency shelter open from 3:00pm to 8:00am daily on our campus; this shelter is run by Encompass Community Services.
  • Our Community Room is also used as a space to host support groups by various organizations.