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The first step to finding community solutions for homelessness is education. Learn about homelessness in Santa Cruz County, read success stories of clients we’ve served, and dive into some national resources on understanding homelessness. As is often the case, there’s more than meets the eye.


Local Media, Op-Eds

From Santa Cruz Sentinel: As Executive Director at Housing Matters, I walk through Coral Street every morning after parking off site. And every morning, I am filled with empathy.

If you haven’t driven through Coral Street recently, you may not know that it has become a sort of mini encampment for people who are homeless. The sidewalks are completely impassable. Personal belongings, bedding and trash are intermingled. Some might look at this and see blight. I look at it and I see human suffering.

And then I shift my gaze. I look past the sidewalks to the businesses on our street, and I see heartache. I see business owners trying to support their families, I see storefronts that were once much more inviting than they are now. I see hard work and deep roots being eroded by a situation that is outside of business owners’ control.

After 33 years of service as Homeless Services Center, now we are proud to serve this community with the name Housing Matters.

Housing is how we’ll resolve homelessness together. Housing is the focus of the conversations we have with our clients. Housing is the conversation we seek with you, with our civic leaders, and with the broader community. Housing matters to everyone in Santa Cruz County.

Whether you are a beloved supporter of this organization, or just learning about us for the first time, you may have a few questions. Please enjoy the Q&A about our name change >

Temporary shower facilities installed at Homeless Services Center in response to building deterioration

Nearly 200,000 showers have been provided to people experiencing homelessness since the Homeless Services Center facility opened in 2006

The temporary shower and restroom facilities will be open to the public from 10-2, seven days a week, effective Friday, August 16.

Local Media, Strategies and Solutions

From Santa Cruz Sentinel: Qualifying as one of Santa Cruz County’s most vulnerable people experiencing “chronic homelessness,” Tony Canepa ranks as one of more than 800 who have been connected to housing with support services locally since 2012.

Across Santa Cruz County, chronic homelessness is estimated to have dropped by nearly a third in the past two years, according to preliminary census results released last month. The housing of chronically homeless persons such as Canepa, 67, has been prioritized and tracked by a multi-agency initiative of service providers dubbed 180/2020. A banner with the latest count stretches across the sound barrier wall behind Homeless Services Center, facing Highway 1 traffic.

Data

The Homeless Action Partnership (HAP) released preliminary results from the 2019 Point In Time (PIT) Count, which is a single-day census of the homeless population conducted every two years.

The results indicate an overall decrease of homelessness in Santa Cruz County of 3.6%.

Local Media

“Housing Matters operates shelter as a pathway to housing; that is, working with all shelter program participants on individualized housing plans … shelter in and of itself is not the solution. Housing people, which we do every single day, is the solution to homelessness.”

From Santa Cruz Sentinel: Homeless Action Partnership has come up with a plan to provide homeless people year-round shelter and housing services.

The partnership is a collaboration of Santa Cruz County and each city within the county, along with local homelessness service providers.