+–I'm experiencing homelessness during the coronavirus pandemic
Housing Matters, the County of Santa Cruz, and local jurisdictions are all working on expanding shelter resources for people experiencing homelessness during the coronavirus pandemic. This section will be updated as more pandemic-response services become available.
You can learn about the shelter referral process and see a list of organizations making referrals on the County’s COVID-19 Homeless Services Information webpage.
The Santa Cruz Free Guide has updated information about COVID-19 resources.
+–I need multiple services
Santa Cruz County has an extensive network of service providers. If you’re not sure exactly what you need, or who you should contact, start with 211 Santa Cruz County. Dial 211 to be connected to a free and confidential referral service that will connect you to the services you need, including housing, food, child care, and other information.
Santa Cruz Free Guide is a list of a variety of services available throughout Santa Cruz County. You can see the Santa Cruz Free Guide here.
+–I’m struggling with substance use
There are multiple local resources that provide substance use treatment and support:
- Janus of Santa Cruz offers a variety of programs and services.
- Encompass Community Services has several programs through their Community Recovery Services, available for individuals and families.
- Santa Cruz County offers resources through their Health Services Agency.
- DrugRehab.com is an online resource dedicated to providing information and education about substances, treatment, and recovery.
- Elevate Addiction Services offers a thorough rehab program, from detox to aftercare – and even beforehand with intervention services. They have a facility in Watsonville.
+–I need food
Second Harvest Food Bank is Santa Cruz County’s most comprehensive resource for information and support for people in need of food. You can contact their Community Food Hotline at (831) 662-0991 from 8:00am to 4:00pm, Monday through Friday.
If you are interested in receiving CalFresh benefits (formerly known as Food Stamps), visit the County of Santa Cruz Human Services Department’s website to get started.
+–I need shelter
The first step for placement in one of our shelters or programs is to call (831) 458-6020 to make an appointment for an intake assessment. 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.
Additional resources for local shelter include:
- Pajaro Valley Shelter, helping women, children, and families end the causes and cycles of homelessness — one family at a time.
- River Street Emergency Shelter, a 32-bed emergency shelter for homeless adult men and women.
- Pajaro Rescue Mission, a faith-based shelter for homeless adult men.
- Siena House, a residential program for pregnant and post-partum women in crisis.
- Faith Community Shelter, a rotating shelter run in part by its participants.
Housing Matters is also holding office hours in at the Watsonville Library at 275 Main Street in Watsonville. General information, referral services, Smart Path Assessments, and intakes are offered during these office hours. Times are:
- 1st Thursday of every month, 10:00am to 1:00pm
- 3rd Thursday of every month, 1:00pm to 4:00pm
+–I need housing
There are a variety of programs available to help those experiencing homelessness find permanent, stable housing. The first step in getting connected with a program and case manager is to complete a Smart Path Assessment. Call (831) 458-6020 to make an appointment for an intake assessment at 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.
You can also view our housing programs on our Non-Residential Services page.
+–I'm displaced due to the wildfires
If you lost your home in the fire, or are displaced for any amount of time, our doors are always open. However, there are also emergency assistance resources that may be better suited for your particular situation:
You can call 2-1-1 to learn about available resources in our county.
The County of Santa Cruz is maintaining a comprehensive list of information and resources here >
And if you would like to learn more about our services, you can always give us a call at (831) 458-6020, or visit our Housing Services page >
+–I need to find employment
The following agencies provide workforce training and resources:
- Workforce Santa Cruz County is a partnership of local organizations that serve both job seekers and businesses in the community.
- Homeless Garden Project provides job training, transitional employment and support services to people who are experiencing homelessness.
- Goodwill Central Coast offers employment services and training programs.
- CalFresh Employment and Training (CFET) is a program offered by referral only to CalFresh participants. You can learn about this program at our campus, or through the county.
+–I need health services
- Homeless Persons’ Health Project is co-located with Housing Matters on our Coral Street campus. They provide comprehensive health care and housing in an effort to eliminate homelessness in our community.
- Santa Cruz County offers medical clinics that provide general medical care for infants, children and adults.
- Santa Cruz Community Health Centers operates two clinics, the East Cliff Family Health Center and the Women’s Health Center.
+–I need mental health services
If you are not in imminent danger but need immediate mental health crisis support call Santa Cruz County Mental Health at (800) 952-2335 (24 hours a day).
- Santa Cruz County’s Behavioral Health Division provides a wide range of prevention and treatment options for Santa Cruz County adults, children and their families.
- National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Santa Cruz County offers services for anyone concerned about mental illnesses and their treatment.
+–I am a veteran
Supportive Services for Veterans and their Families (SSVF) is a housing program available through Housing Matters. The first step for placement is to call (831) 458-6020 to make an appointment for an intake assessment. 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.
- Santa Cruz County Veterans Services Office can connect veterans, military retirees, and their families to available benefits and services.
- A list of veterans service day providers can be found through the Santa Cruz County Veterans Memorial Building website.
- The Santa Cruz Veterans Resource Center is the local branch of the Veterans Resource Centers of America.
- Assisted Living Research Institute provides a comprehensive guide to assisted living resources for veterans.
+–I am fleeing an abusive partner
If you are in immediate danger, call 911.
You can reach the Monarch Services 24-hour Domestic Violence Crisis Hotline at 1-888-900-4232. Monarch Services offers immediate crisis response to victims of domestic violence and sexual assault, as well as a wide range of support services.
Walnut Avenue Family & Women’s Center provides support and services for women, children and families.
Housing Matters services
Housing Matters is one of many agencies providing health and human services in Santa Cruz County. We offer residential, case management, and day services to people experiencing homelessness.
We offer a variety of services to people experiencing homelessness who are not staying on our campus. These range from housing programs and employment training programs to basic day services such as hot showers and access to our mail room. Our campus is also home to partners such as Homeless Persons Health Project and Dientes Community Dental Care.
Housing Matters runs four shelter programs on our campus, including a family shelter, which collectively provide beds for nearly 200 people at any given time; the beds on our campus represent nearly half of the shelter beds in Santa Cruz County. Our campus is also home to the River Street Shelter, run by Encompass Community Services. The average stay in one of our shelters is approximately 3–6 months, depending on the program and individual situation, and each resident works with a case manager on a permanent housing plan.