An Initiative of United Way
of Santa Cruz County

Smart Solutions to Homelessness-
In This Issue
Don Lane Honored with Amos Award
Peace United Church honored Santa Cruz City Councilman and former Mayor Don Lane at its eighth Annual Amos Award ceremony on January 31st.

The award annually celebrates the prophetic spirit in people of faith locally. It draws it name from the Bible's book of Amos and the prophet's concluding exhortation made famous by the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., "let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream."

Lane is noted for his leadership around initiatives serving the homeless and very poor, and his commitment to the Charter for Compassion. He is also the chair of Smart Solutions to Homelessness, established in 2012.

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 build the community will to reduce and ultimately end homelessness in Santa Cruz County through education and collaborative action.
"Smart Path" to Countywide Coordinated Entry System
Dominican board member Ana Ventura Phares, right, presents Mary Lou Goeke, executive director of United Way Santa Cruz County, with a $200,000 grant for Smart Path program.
Photo Credit: Kevin Johnson, Santa Cruz Sentinel
Smart Solutions to Homelessness is excited to share the news that Dignity Health has awarded the United Way of Santa Cruz County and its partners a two-year grant for "Smart Path to Housing and Health"! United Way is partnering with the Homeless Services Center and the countywide Homeless Action Partnership to develop and implement Smart Path, the first phase of our countywide coordinated entry system to align and address homelessness. Robyn McKeen, currently the Smart Solutions to Homelessness staff coordinator, will be starting as the Smart Path Project Manager at the Homeless Services Center in March.

The Smart Solutions to Homelessness Leadership Council identified coordinated entry as one of its three advocacy priorities (along with affordable housing and revenue) and we are very supportive about this development. As identified in the "All In" countywide plan, coordinated entry is essential to successfully reduce and end homelessness in Santa Cruz County.

Rather than simply satisfy the minimum HUD-mandated requirements of a coordinated entry system, our county has chosen to implement the best possible system to move from the fragmented management of homelessness to an aligned system that most effectively houses people experiencing homelessness. Anyone meeting with any service provider will be uniformly assessed, quickly identified with what they need, and provided the appropriate amount of services needed (leaving the highest level of service like Permanent Supportive Housing for those with the highest needs). With Smart Path, Santa Cruz County is on track to launch this critical systems change.

 Read about the Smart Path grant in the Santa Cruz Sentinel article 
Santa Cruz City Council Considering Camping Ordinance Amendment
Did you know that Santa Cruz City's camping ordinance is among the strictest in the state? On March 8th, the Santa Cruz City Council will be considering an amendment to the Camping Ordinance to remove the biological act of sleeping as a specific offense. To learn more, read the draft amendment and rationale here. Some considerations: 
  • We hope you will join us in considering the dignity of individuals without shelter undertaking the basic biological act of sleeping when they have no viable alternative.
  • With over 1,300 people experiencing homelessness countywide with no shelter, and limited emergency beds available, we urge you to consider day-to-day realities of people with no place to sleep indoors.
  • The US Department of Housing and Urban Development has expressed the view that ordinances that criminalize homelessness are not helpful in the overall effort to reduces and end homelessness and can cause harm. HUD now includes the criminalization policies of local jurisdictions as a scoring factor on homeless assistance grant applications. (
Read the article in the Street Spirit, featuring SSHLC member Linda Lemaster.

You can email the City Council here. Stay tuned for the time of the meeting and agenda here. 
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