An Initiative of United Way

of Santa Cruz County

Smart Solutions to Homelessness-
In This Issue
Not the Other Oral Histories Seeks Web Administrator

Not The Other - Oral Histories of People Experiencing Homelessness
Not The Other - Oral Histories of People Experiencing Homelessness
A web designer is needed to rebuild The Oral Histories Project, Not the Other: Oral Histories of People Experiencing Homelessness. The site includes 42 interviews with people who are homeless in Santa Cruz, as well as photographs, print interviews, and several longer videos the project has created. The website for this project is content ready, but the site itself needs to be rebuilt. Use of Word Press would work fine. If you can volunteer, please contact Annette March, project director at 831-423-9920 or oralhistoriesprojectsc@ Thank you!

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.

New York Sets the Pace to End Youth and Young Adult Homelessness

The National Network for Youth (NN4Y) released their Proposed System to End Youth and Young Adult Homelessness. Youth, as well as young adults (YYA), are experiencing homelessness, lack of safety, stability, and other essential life needs. Several of these individuals are unable to access services, resources and systems that are designed to support healthy development. Their proposed system includes a variety of developmentally appropriate housing and service options for youth and their families. While in the system, youth experiencing homelessness will not have to worry about basic needs and will have more time to focus on pursuing an education, as well as building healthy interpersonal relationships.  

Read more about the report,here.

We Are Not Alone!

Santa Cruz County enjoys a reputation of uniqueness... and many of us support that reputation with our own statements about our community.
Despite our tendency to believe we are unique when it comes to homelessness, it seems we are not all that different from many other California communities.
Here are a smattering of news items from other communities trying to address homelessness...

Smart Solutions Ally Spotlight: Debbie Bates
(Photo credit: Santa Cruz Wellness Center)

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!

United Way
United Way

United Way of Santa Cruz County | 4450 Capitola Road, Suite 106 | PO Box 1458 | Capitola | CA | 95010