An Initiative of United Way
of Santa Cruz County

Smart Solutions to Homelessness-
In This Issue

New Funding Awarded for Permanent Supportive Housing 

In January, Santa Cruz County Continuum of Care (CoC) agencies were awarded all the HUD funding they requested, totaling $2,274,747!
This included all renewal applications, a new CoC planning application, and the Homeless Service Center's new permanent supportive housing (PSH) bonus application!  The latter was one of only 25 extremely competitive PSH bonus applications awarded nationwide. Permanent Supportive Housing is an example of the kind of Smart Solutions that will help us end homelessness in our community!


Addressing Homelessness among Transgender Youth
(Photo: WORT Radio)
The 2013 Point-In-Time census identified 947 homeless youth locally (a stunning 27% of Santa Cruz County's homeless population). Studies indicate that lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) youth comprise a disproportionate percentage of homeless youth-approximately 40 percent on average. 
The DRAFT countywide strategic plan to end homelessness  includes recommendations to create a drop-in day center specifically to address the unique needs of youth and young adults experiencing homelessness.   

What Are Smart Solutions?


Produce measurable results

Cost effective

Benefit the entire community

Take a step toward ending homelessness

Support the dignity of each individual

Our VISION is a Santa Cruz County in which every community member has some form of safe shelter, and where homelessness is a rare occurrence.

Our MISSION is to improve the way Santa Cruz County works collaboratively to reduce and ultimately end homelessness.

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Countywide Strategic Plan to End Homelessness is Being Finalized
After a year-long process of engaging government planners, service providers, and community members in researching local data and best practices, the DRAFT countywide plan to prevent, reduce and eventually end homelessness is being finalized. Check back in March to learn more about the plan and how you can get involved in implementation!
New Orleans Sets the Pace to End Homelessness
Photo: Mayor Mitch Landrieu- City of New Orleans
This Mardi Gras, the City of New Orleans has a message for us: ending homelessness is possible and is happening around the country through collaboration and elimination of barriers to housing.

In November, the Smart Solutions Update announced that Santa Cruz County was the first in California to join over 200 communities nationwide in taking the Mayors Challenge pledge to end veteran homelessness in 2015. To re-read the Santa Cruz Sentinel article, click here.

One of these communities- New Orleans- has already achieved and surpassed the goal of housing all of its 200+ veterans experiencing homelessness!
Learn more about what worked in New Orleans:
The following article discusses what it really means to end homelessness:
16th Annual Memorial to Honor Those Who Have Died on the Streets

(Photo: Dan Croyo- Santa Cruz Sentinel)

The Homeless Services Center's annual memorial for the homeless people who died during the past year drew a standing-room-only crowd on December 18, 2014.

In a Homeless Persons' Health Project report offered at the service by county public health nurse Matt Nathanson, a reported 38 people died while homeless in Santa Cruz County in 2014. The youngest was 15, the oldest 74. The number of deaths mirrored last year's count, according to the report.

One of those who died this year was a woman named Alison who rolled down the hillside from her camp and drowned in a body of water.


"Sometimes the spin in the world is that homeless people are dangerous," Nathanson said. "I think homelessness is dangerous."

2015 Point-In-Time Census Update

We would like to extend our gratitude to everyone who volunteered their time to take part in the 2015 Santa Cruz County Homeless Census that took place on the morning of January 22, 2015. The report will be published and available in the spring.


This census is scheduled every 2 years and is a requirement for federal HUD funding for local homeless services.  The census is conducted locally by Applied Survey Research. The results of the census and survey produce a point-in-time count, and provide the County with information about its homeless population. This data has helped the county and local homeless service providers better understand the needs of their community, evaluate their current system of services, and apply for federal and local funding. This is especially critical this year with the renewal of our 10 year plan and our need to collect data to support it.


Thanks for your support and interest in the 2015 Santa Cruz County Homeless Census.


United Way
United Way