get informed

The first step to finding community solutions for homelessness is education. Learn about homelessness in Santa Cruz County, read success stories of clients we’ve served, and dive into some national resources on understanding homelessness. As is often the case, there’s more than meets the eye.


Op-Eds

In an op-ed published in the Santa Cruz Sentinel, Homeless Services Center Executive Director Phil Kramer discussed some of the recent successes of the organization. In tandem with the celebration of those successes, Phil goes on to examine still-existing challenges and the best steps forward for continued improvement. Read the op-ed on the Sentinel, here […]

Staff

We are delighted to ring in the New Year with heartwarming news: thanks to you and the giving community of Santa Cruz County, we accomplished our goal! A total of 150 households were housed in 2018, which represents 19 more families than we housed the year prior. Because of our community’s support, 296 people who […]

Staff

By Phil Kramer, Executive Director, Homeless Services Center

A December 11, 2018, article in both the Mercury News and the Santa Cruz Sentinel reports on a recent study sponsored by Zillow, which indicates that rates of homelessness in the United States are worse than the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development estimates — up to 20 percent higher across the nation, in fact.

Staff

By Erin Gaede, Recuperative Care Center & Page Smith Community House Program Manager

Each year, Santa Cruz’s Good Times selects a handful of area non-profits to be featured in their Santa Cruz Gives campaign. This annual holiday drive invites the community to support local non-profits, and throughout the giving season, the Good Times shares more in-depth information about the featured organizations.

Local Media

From the Good Times: Phil Kramer has a story about a man who was homeless when he learned that he had cancer. After his initial hospital stay, the man was released to one of the 12 beds at the Homeless Services Center’s Recuperative Care Center (RCC), says Kramer, the executive director of the Homeless Services Center (HSC). […]

Individuals

Like some individuals, Mark Simon, or Pastor Mark as many of us know him, had to deal with a myriad of health and mobility issues for a few years in his life. But most individuals who are struggling to recover from various health issues have a roof over their head — Mark did not. Mark […]

Community Events

On or about the longest night of the year – the Winter Solstice – communities across the country gather to remember neighbors who have died homeless in the past year. This year marks the 20th year for the remembrance gathering in Santa Cruz County.   * On-site parking extremely limited. Overflow parking available at Tannery […]

Local Media

From the Santa Cruz Sentinel: “The Watsonville City Council approved a contract on Tuesday with the Salvation Army to reopen the South County winter homeless shelter on Grant Street…” Read the entire article >

Families

At one point in time, Kayla and her kids had nowhere to go. A mother of two skateboard-loving boys, Kayla was coming out of a difficult divorce and was finishing up six-month drug and alcohol program at a residential center, where she was staying with her children. On top of completing her recovery program and […]

Individuals

For many 23-year-olds, finding a job is at the top of their to-do list. To Vince, the thought of getting a job seemed impossible. At that time, Vince was living on the streets of Santa Cruz, worrying about his safety and the choices he made. But he wanted to take action and redirect his life […]

Families

When Nina first came to Homeless Services Center, she thought she had no hope at all. Nina and her 17-year-old daughter were in a difficult situation, living with a boyfriend of Nina who was abusive, to avoid sleeping in their car or on the street with no protection. A single mother with no steady income […]

Individuals

If you ask Ray what the future looks like, he will tell you in one word: stable. Ray, a thirty-year-old cosmetologist with a Southern drawl, and his partner, David, found housing and a pathway forward after more than two years of facing discrimination, assault and battling substance use while experiencing homelessness in Santa Cruz. Ray […]

Individuals

When Marcus, a veteran who works in the IT field, told his fiancé Aria she needed to fill out yet another set of papers before getting the keys to their new condominium, Aria’s heart sank. For the past few months, Marcus, Aria, and their three teenaged children were living in emergency hotel assistance due to […]

Individuals

For the past nine years, Gary, a father and a resident of Santa Cruz, did not know what was wrong with him. By the time he was diagnosed with an autoimmune illness and began his long road to being himself again, Gary had lost a lot of time. Once healthy, he struggled to find work, […]

Individuals

For Bill, life was stable. As a truck driver for more than 30 years, Bill was married and had a house of his own in Santa Cruz. But once his divorce was finalized, the stability he was accustomed to vanished. In a short time, Bill lost everything and had nobody to turn to for help. […]

Understanding Homelessness

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is an anxiety disorder that can occur after an individual has experienced a traumatic event, particularly those that include the threat of injury or death, and it is apparent among populations experiencing homelessness. Read the full report from the National Alliance to End Homelessness >

Individuals

For the past year, Angela spent her days soaking in the beauty the many beaches in Santa Cruz. At night, however, Angela would be in dark, motionless parking lots throughout Santa Cruz fearing for her safety, not knowing what she would eat for her next meal. Angela first experienced homelessness four years ago, when the […]

Families

By the end of their stay at Homeless Services Center’s Rebele Family Shelter, the Martinez family — Manny, Laura, and their 16-year-old daughter Ana — had rented a house in Watsonville. If you saw the family prior to this, however, you would witness the family camping on a dry river bed, following their eviction from […]

Planning, Strategies and Solutions

All In – Toward a Home for Every County Resident represents a new vision for the Santa Cruz County community, a vision that everyone can share. All-In has eight strategic priorities that reflect local and national best practices to address homelessness. It was created over a full year of extensive community participation and feedback from […]

Individuals

One day, Alex was going to give up. A veteran, Alex had had a stable life and an apartment on 30th Avenue. But over the course of several months, a series of personal crises forced him out of his home. Try as he might to find another place he could afford, he eventually found himself […]

Volunteers

As a volunteer at the Homeless Services Center, I have grown and learned so much from working alongside a team of dedicated staff. You will never find a more genuine and whole-hearted environment to be in. The people are very friendly and you never feel alone. There are a number of volunteer duties to take […]

Individuals

The good news for Suzanne, a 61-year-old mother who had recently been discharged from the hospital, was that she was on almost a dozen waitlists for senior and affordable housing in the county. The bad news was some waitlists were years long, and Suzanne was unsure what she would do. Suzanne had been forced to […]

Local Media

From the Santa Cruz Sentinel: The number of people who have died while homeless in Santa Cruz County jumped significantly this year, and advocates and community members gathered Tuesday at the Homeless Services Center to remember the dead. Read the full story >

Op-Eds

An Op-Ed submitted to the Santa Cruz Sentinel by HSC Executive Director Phil Kramer. “Anyone who doubts shelter is a pathway to housing should meet Gary. He had been out of work for nine years due to an auto-immune illness…” Read the full op-ed >

Volunteers

A young man was a daily user of the showers for the truly homeless. Despite all his trials and tribulations, he was able to earn enough college credits at Cabrillo to be admitted to UCSC as a junior in the math department. I can’t imagine how hard that must have been. He stated that what […]

Volunteers

I have experienced a strong sense of community and support from everyone I have encountered here.  One thing I have specifically enjoyed witnessing is the obvious progress and improvement that clients and whole families undergo at our shelter, as case managers and other resources are provided and permanent housing is obtained by formerly homeless families. […]