An Initiative of United Way
of Santa Cruz County

Smart Solutions to Homelessness-
In This Issue
Downtown Accountability Program Highlighted

(Photo credit: KSBW)

The City of Santa Cruz's Downtown Accountability Program (DAP) was recently highlighted. This program has saved money, improved community safety, and changed lives, including assisting chronic criminal offenders in maintaining stable employment and housing.

 Watch the KSBW report here 


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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.

Smart Solutions Media Advocacy

The Homeless Services Center has lost $350,000 in federal funding and plans to close its day services and emergency Paul Lee Loft shelter. Smart Solutions and the United Way have responded to this devastating loss to our community. You can help:Take action with us and consider writing a letter to the editor at the Santa Cruz Sentinel or Donate!

Smart Solutions Leadership Council members Phil Kramer and Gary Merrill challenge us to think long-term about solving homelessness in the May 9th Op-Ed.
(Photo credit: Mariah Tanner, United Way of Santa Cruz County)

Inflammatory Perspectives
Just when we think the community conversation is getting more civil, we are reminded we have our work cut out for us (see the fifth letter down on the Sentinel Letters webpage). It is important to remember these perspectives are alive and well in our county and to recognize them as an opportunity to respond constructively. For example, Smart Solutions uses the following guidelines:
  • We need community solutions to this community problem. Our county can and must work together to effectively end homelessness.
  • The way we address homelessness must provide solutions to systemic issues, not simply react to immediate problems.

Smart Solutions Ally Spotlight: Annette March

(Photo credit: Linda Lemaster)
In addition to our Leadership Council, Smart Solutions benefits from the support and activities of our hundreds of Allies. Today, we would like to acknowledge the significant contributions of one of our original Smart Solutions Allies: Annette March.

Annette is the founder of Not the Other: Oral Histories of People Experiencing Homelessness, an oral history project to "give face and voice to those experiencing homelessness who have gone unheard and unseen" here in Santa Cruz County. View one of her videos here. The people and their stories featured in Annette's videos have supported Smart Solutions in educating and engaging the broader community to better understand people experiencing homelessness.

Leadership Council member Linda Lemaster says the following of Annette: "[She] brings a tenderness and attention to details into her work. It makes her presence feel like a welcoming, calming respite for folks experiencing homelessness who know her or who have worked with her."


In addition to the Not the Other project, Annette, along with other key organizers, has been instrumental in launching the Smart Solutions to Homelessness House Gatherings.  The House Gatherings are casual living room conversations designed to foster safe, exploratory dialogue among homeless and housed people. Stay tuned for more information about the House Gatherings in upcoming newsletters.


Thank you Annette, for all you do to foster understanding, compassion and dignity for our community!  

United Way
United Way