Emergency Food & Shelter Program




Eligible/Ineligible Costs

Download the Complete EFSP Manual

Federal Emergency Food & Shelter (EFSP) money is available for local emergency food and shelter programs in Santa Cruz County.  Although the exact amount is not known at this time, last year $180, 594 was awarded to service agencies in the community.  The county’s local Emergency Food & Shelter Board will determine how the Phase 33 funds will be distributed after evaluating proposals submitted during a Request for Proposals application process.

Local government or private nonprofit organizations eligible to apply for funds must have an accounting system and conduct an annual audit, practice nondiscrimination, have demonstrated the capability of providing emergency food and/or shelter programs and, if they are a private nonprofit organization, have a voluntary board of directors.

The deadline for submitting fully completed applications is 9:00 a.m. on Tuesday, September 8, 2015.  Late applications will not be considered.

For further information, call 465-2203.


The purpose of the Santa Cruz County Emergency Food & Shelter Program is to augment the emergency food and shelter needs of county residents through the equitable administration and distribution of the Federal grant funds available to quality providers of these services as mandated by the National Emergency Food and Shelter Program.

In order to be funded, organizations must meet the following requirements: 

  • Must be a tax-exempt non-profit organization;
  • Have an accounting system;
  • Practice nondiscrimination;
  • Have demonstrated the capacity to deliver Emergency Food and/or
  • Shelter Programs;
  • If a private organization, have a voluntary Board of Directors

For more information on the National Emergency Food and Shelter Program, please visit their website.  

Local Board Members

NR = National Representative

Ken Cole, Chair
Santa Cruz County Housing Authority (NR)

Denise Acosta
Salvation Army, Santa Cruz (NR)

Emily Balli
County of Santa Cruz Human Services Department (NR)

Romina Cervantes
Community Mountain Resources

Patsy Gasca
American Red Cross (NR)

Mary Lou Goeke
United Way of Santa Cruz County (NR)

Terrie Iacino
Catholic Charities (NR)

Kevin Heuer
Second Harvest Food Bank

Annette Melendrez
Pajaro Valley Shelter Services

Rowland Rebele
Community Member

Virginia Val-Leiva
Community Member

 Recently Funded Organizations

Calvary Episcopal Church - Coffee House: Serves an evening meal to homeless youth every Monday, serving 100 meals per week.

Calvary Episcopal Church - Food Pantry: Distributes food twice a month to nearly 200 people, representing nearly 400 families, many of which are homeless or handicapped. Last year, nearly 50,000 pounds of food was given out. 

Catholic Charities: Family Supportive Services program provides timely assistance to the needy, homeless, and working poor families and individuals facing such obstacles as rent/eviction situations, utility shut-off, food and lodging needs, transportation problems and other emergencies of day-to-day living.

Community Action Board: Shelter Project direct services to people living in or near poverty who have no other resources available. This includes motel vouchers, residential assistance payments to landlords/mortgage holders to prevent eviction or foreclosure, voicemail service to homeless people to maintain communication with family or employers, and an information and referral service.

Community Bridges - Meals on Wheels: provides an average of 400 daily home delivered meals to senior citizens, disable non-seniors and people with AIDS who face the most challenging of circumstances.  Last year, the program provided 107,251 home delivered meals to eligible shut-in residents in Santa Cruz County.

Encompass Community Services - River Street Shelter & the Independent Living Program (ILP): The shelter is a 32-bed homeless shelter for both men and women. The ILP provides rental assistance, counseling and support for foster care youth, ages 16-21.

Familia Center: Distributes emergency food twice a month to low-income families that includes disabled, seniors and veteran residents. Nearly 95% of those accessing the pantry are at or below the poverty level and approximately 32% have children 0-5 years old. 

Grey Bears, Inc.: Delivers brown bags of fresh produce and healthy staples to 4,000 low-income seniors each week, provides daily food distributions and serves 18,000 hot meals annually to seniors, volunteers and other agencies that serve those in need.

Homeless Services Center: is a nonprofit organization that has a variety of services and transitional housing programs.

New Life Community Services: Serves homeless families with children who are in need of emergency shelter, and they also provide food and nutrition services through distribution and curbside meal service in areas of special need. Last year they served 2,038 unduplicated clients between their shelter and food programs.

Pajaro Valley Loaves & Fishes: Provides a hot lunch, five days a week year round to the homeless and very low income population of the Pajaro Valley, including working poor families with children, migrant farm workers, elderly, disabled, and mentally ill individuals. Additionally, they operate a pantry program.

Pajaro Valley Shelter Services: The shelter is open all day, every day; providing 90 days of occupancy after which the clients are transitioned into stable housing or into the organization's transitional housing program where they work closely with a case manager and develop skills to help them manage their money.

Second Harvest Food Bank: Operates as a donated food clearinghouse in addition to operating their own food assistance programs. They serve approximately 43,000 clients a month which is equal to about 424,580 meals per month.

Siena House Maternity Home of Santa Cruz County: Provides food, shelter and help in accessing adequate medical care to women who are pregnant and homeless. Additionally they provide a program of interactive education including pre and post natal care, child development, bonding and attachment, nutrition, forming and sustaining healthy relationships and stress management.

St. Francis Soup Kitchen: Their food program for the needy delivers free nutritious hot lunches, Monday through Friday, all year long. Last year the program served 41,932 meals.

Walnut Avenue Women's Center:  Provides emergency shelter for battered women and children through hotel or safe home placements.  Their food program provides emergency food and education to women, children and families who participate in one of their agency's five programs.