More than 900 families in Santa Cruz County lost their homes when the CZU Lightning Complex fires raged through our community in August 2020. The experience of living unhoused became a stark reality for many of our friends and neighbors who never imagined suffering such a loss.

Housing Matters was able to respond promptly, leveraging our deep involvement and decades of experience in addressing homelessness and navigating housing services. We quickly provided online training for anyone in the community interested in helping neighbors who had lost their homes. Offers of support had begun pouring in from people wanting to help, which was amazing, and we wanted to empower their efforts.

Our idea was to give these self-appointed volunteers the tools to help meet fire victims’ immediate needs—from breaking down long-term goals to learning the basics of trauma-informed care, and understanding what compassion fatigue (not to be confused with burnout!) looks like. (Self-care is an essential component to helping someone navigate a crisis!)

The online training we developed has since become the basis for our Pathways Home Toolkit, a free resource available to anyone wanting to assist someone who is unhoused.

Because we all have the power to help each other in times of crisis, regardless of the circumstances in which a friend or neighbor loses a home.

We welcome you to download the Pathways Home Toolkit and share it widely!

Contents include:

  • Causes of homelessness
  • Barriers to becoming housed
  • Case Management 101
  • Housing navigation
  • Solutions to homelessness
  • De-escalation techniques
  • Trauma-informed care
  • And much more!

Download the digital Pathways Home Toolkit here > 

Download the print file here > 

Have questions about the Toolkit, or how you can get involved? Email our Community Engagement Manager, Andrea Feltz, at: afeltz@housingmatterssc.org