community resources

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.

For more information on Housing Matters programs and services, visit our programs page.

I’m Struggling With Substance Abuse

There are multiple local organizations that provide substance use treatment and support:

Janus of Santa Cruz offers a variety of programs and services.

Encompass Community Services offers several programs through their Community Recovery Services for both individuals and their families.

Santa Cruz County offers resources through its Health Services Agency. is an online resource that provides information and education about substances, treatment, and recovery.

Elevate Addiction Services offers a thorough rehab program – from detox to aftercare – and even intervention services. They have a facility in Watsonville.

Harm Reduction Coalition of Santa Cruz County offers a variety of programs and services with the goal of reducing the harm that can be associated with drug use.

Santa Cruz NA and Santa Cruz AA host regular meetings throughout the County.

I Need Multiple Services

Dial 211 to be connected to a free and confidential referral service that will direct you to the services you need, including housing, food, child care, and more.

You can also find helpful resources online at 211 Santa Cruz County.

Stepping Up Santa Cruz is another online resource that provides listings of homeless-related services available throughout Santa Cruz County.

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’re interested in receiving CalFresh benefits (formerly known as Food Stamps), visit the County of Santa Cruz Human Services Department’s website to get started.

There are several locations throughout Santa Cruz County where you can get a hot meal, including Pajaro Valley Loaves and Fishes in Watsonville, and St. Francis Catholic Kitchen in Santa Cruz.

Food Not Bombs meets at the Clocktower downtown from noon – 4:00pm daily.

Every weekday, Grey Bears Healthy Food Program offers a free grocery store at 11am followed by a hot meal at 11:30am. Sign-up online.

I Need Shelter

Local resources for emergency shelter include the following:

Housing Matters runs three emergency shelter programs on our campus, including a family shelter. 

Pajaro Valley Shelter helps women, children, and families end the causes and cycles of homelessness — one family at a time.

Pajaro Rescue Mission is a faith-based shelter for homeless adult men.

Siena House is a residential program for pregnant and postpartum women in crisis.

Faith Community Shelter is a rotating shelter run in part by its participants.

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 Housing Matters program or service is to call us at (831) 458-6020 and ask to speak to someone on the Service Navigation Team. You may also visit us at 115 Coral Street in Santa Cruz.

Learn more about our housing programs on our Housing Services page.

I Need To Find Employment

CalFresh Employment and Training (CFET) is a program offered by referral only to CalFresh participants. The program helps individuals who receive food stamps to overcome barriers to employment by providing resume building, job training, interview prep, and more.

Drop-in hours to meet with our CFET Employment Specialist are Tuesdays 10:00am – 3:00pm and Thursdays 9:00am – 12:00pm on the Coral Street campus. And at the Downtown Santa Cruz Public Library on Thursdays from 1:00pm – 3:00pm.

Contact CFET Employment Specialist, Ceci Lynch, directly at or (831) 226-2528.

The following agencies also 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.

Downtown Streets Team offers employment placement.

Job services and training are available through thee Employment Development Department.

Job training is available through Workforce Santa Cruz County.

I Need Health Services

Homeless Persons’ Health Project (HPHP) is co-located on the Housing Matters Coral Street campus.

HPHP provides comprehensive health care and housing services 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 three clinics, the Live Oak Health Center (formerly known as East Cliff Family Health Center), the Santa Cruz Women’s Health Center and the Santa Cruz Mountain 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 1 (800) 952-2335 (24 hours a day) or 988.

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.