All In- Toward A Home For Every County Resident has been unanimously approved by the County Board of Supervisors, and the Santa Cruz, Watsonville, and Capitola City Councils!
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Learn more about the Strategic Planning Process, sponsored by the County of Santa Cruz County Human Services Department, United Way, Homeless Action Partnership, and Smart Solutions to Homelessness.
Read the report by the Santa Cruz Sentinel below:
New Santa Cruz plan targets homelessness countywide
Santa Cruz Sentinel
By Jessica A York
When cities and county leaders came together to craft a major strategic plan to curb homeless across Santa Cruz County in 2003, they were ahead of the curve.
Federal government funding had not caught up with needs and local leaders were learning how to best define and address the issue. This month, several agencies are putting the final touches on a new and improved local homelessness plan, a year in the making and involving hundreds of perspectives.
“I think the major difference between this plan and the one 10 years ago is we very consciously wanted to talk about the entire county and all the major players that are involved in ending homelessness,” said United Way of Santa Cruz Executive Director Mary Lou Goeke. “I think in the decade that has passed since that plan was passed, we have a much better idea of what works.”
At their respective meetings this week, Santa Cruz city and county leaders will make final adjustments on and approve the latest plan, dubbed “All In: Toward A Home For Every County Resident: The Santa Cruz County Community Strategic Plan to Prevent, Reduce, and Eventually End Homelessness.” It’s predecessor, “Santa Cruz County Homeless Action Partnership: Ten-Year Plan to End Homelessness” expired in 2013.
Julie Conway, Santa Cruz County housing coordinator, highlighted the plan’s strategy of spreading a “coordinated entry” system to all agencies dealing with homeless people. The plan for a shared database features a uniform intake process to match each person’s needs with appropriate services, while also providing a better handle on the number of homeless throughout the county, Conway said.
“This is not going to be a plan that sits on a shelf,” Conway said. “This is going to be a plan that will help us successfully compete for the funding to address homelessness.”
Conway said strategic plans, including both the former and latest versions, help secure homeless services funding in Santa Cruz. She cited federal Housing and Urban Development annual grant funding growth from $500,000 to $2.3 million during the past 13 years.
The new planning document was sponsored by the Homeless Action Partnership team and Smart Solutions to Homelessness coalition, with staffing and support by the United Way of Santa Cruz County. At a special kickoff event on April 8, the version of the plan will be unveiled.
Ken Cole, executive director for the Housing Authority of Santa County, worked on both the newest and previous homeless strategic plans. He said earlier best practices focused on providing temporary homeless services, like shelter and emergency medical care.
“In the last 20 years, I just see this huge shift in ending homelessness,” Cole said. “There’s a serious new national movement to substantially reduce the homeless population on the streets. It’s not just liberal crazy Santa Cruz trying to fix this problem. It’s happening all over the country.”