The County of Santa Cruz, local city governments, in conjunction with the Homeless Action Partnership, will be working hard in the next few months to come up with a new Winter Shelter plan. Time is short for coming up with a new way to provide a Winter Shelter program. There is an opportunity to both restore the Winter Shelter program and make improvements.
Smart Solutions will be joining in the conversation and we welcome your involvement. Stay tuned for more info or contact Maria Romero!
For more than 20 years, Santa Cruz County has provided a 4 to 5 month emergency shelter program at the National Guard Armory during the coldest and wettest months of the year.
This Winter Shelter program has been staffed and managed by the Homeless Services Center. The Homeless Services Center announced earlier this year that they no longer have the capacity to operate the Winter Shelter at the Armory. It is unclear where the community will go in terms of operating a winter shelter.
The Armory program, while serving as a life-saving refuge for many individuals on cold nights, has always been fraught with challenges and has many weaknesses.
Among the weaknesses and challenges:
- Participants are not offered much help beyond the day to day shelter.
- The Armory facility is minimal, offering simply mats and blankets on a gymnasium floor.
- It requires a very expensive transportation system to move scores of people to a remote and isolated location.
In general, it is not a smart solution and offers very little in terms of dignity to the participants.