SANTA CRUZ, Calif. (KION) The Homeless Action Partnership announced that year-round homeless shelters will see a nearly 30% increase in capacity because of new shelter contracts.
The contracts will give $7 million to be spent on shelters and programming, including emergency shelter at three Salvation Army Santa Cruz Corps sites, a new Safe Spaces parking program, more funding for Monarch Services' domestic violence shelter, funding for Housing Matters' Paul Lee Loft and more capacity at the Association of Faith Communities' rotating shelter program.
The county hopes the funding will keep members of the community from becoming homeless and give landlords incentive to offer permanent housing to the homeless.
"This represents an important step forward, from a triage system that offered temporary solutions and toward a system of shelter and services capable of addressing our homelessness crisis by offering meaningful solutions for homeless individuals and our community," said Rayne Perez, Santa Cruz County's homeless services coordinator.
The contracts will expand shelter capacity to 549 spaces and support programming to prevent homelessness and help people transition from shelters to permanent housing.
The contracts include:
- $1.96 million to the Salvation Army Santa Cruz Corps' Laurel and River streets sites
- $1.43 million to the Salvation Army Santa Cruz Corps' South County Navigation Center
- $1.33 million to Community Action Board homelessness prevention
- $813,000 to Housing Matters' Paul Lee Loft
- $632,443 to the Association of Faith Communities' community shelter and Safe Spaces
- $350,000 to Monarch Services' domestic violence shelter
- $320,015 to the Housing Authority of Santa Cruz County's landlord incentive program
There are 2,167 homeless people living in Santa Cruz County, according to the 2019 Point-in-Time Count. About a third of them are employed, and three-quarters lived in Santa Cruz County before they became homeless. Thirty-nine percent said they had a disability that prevented them from living independently, and about 30% said they had a psychiatric or emotional condition. Job loss was the leading cause of homelessness reported.