Debbie Bates retired as a Probation Officer in 2009 and worked in a mental health caseload for the last 12 years of her 33 year probation career. She has always been passionate about working with people, whether it was when she was a case manager or now as the shelter Director at Santa Cruz Faith Community Shelter.
After becoming the shelter Director last year, she uses her past job experiences to support all of the individuals that come into the shelter for help. Debbie helps lead the screening process and also, attends weekly meetings with different housing work groups. The shelter aims to help those that need transitional housing and the most vulnerable. Guests include women and children, families, single women and single men. While there are significant barriers to housing our county's homeless, the Faith Community Shelter make sure to offer the commodities necessary for the occupants to feel safe and welcomed.
Debbie mentioned that level of engagement and the dynamic that develops between the communities in the shelter is admirable. The relationships are built by sharing stories, eating meals together, and having conversations with their neighbors. Seeing the solidarity and mutual acceptance of the people who come to the shelter is a true reward for her.
In years past, many church shelters simply provided day to day shelter without providing other support services and a pathway to longer term housing. Smart Solutions salutes Debbie and the Faith Community Shelter for it embrace of their more comprehensive approach.
Thank you to all the hard working staff at the Santa Cruz Faith Community Shelter who provide a safe,welcoming space day after day!