What’s on this page:
- The Final Plan
- Background: Events that led to the development of the new Strategic Plan for Santa Cruz County
- The Strategic Planning Process
The Final Plan:
After a yearlong strategic planning and community engagement process organized by the Homeless Action Partnership, Smart Solutions, and the United Way, the countywide strategic plan to prevent, reduce, and eventually end homelessness is being put into action!
Now that the All In plan has been approved by all jurisdictions, many groups and individuals are working to promote, build and sustain ongoing public support for plan implementation. This is being carried out by the County of Santa Cruz, Homeless Action Partnership, Smart Solutions, United Way of Santa Cruz County, elected officials of the municipalities within Santa Cruz County and the County itself, service providers, members of the faith community, members of the business community, and concerned citizens of Santa Cruz County.
In December, 2012, almost two hundred fifty community members participated in an all-day Homeless Summit to consider local solutions to homelessness. In response to the Summit, over 80 people applied to be a part of a Leadership Council being formed to carry the work forward—launching the Smart Solutions to Homelessness initiative.
The 2012 Homeless Summit launched the Smart Solutions to Homelessness initiative, and it can be fairly said that the interest it generated contributed to the unprecedented levels of participation that we now see in our countywide strategic planning process.
Since its first meeting in March 2013, Smart Solutions has been meeting, fundraising, forming the group’s vision, establishing partnerships, and advocating at a local, state and national level for policy changes that can help Santa Cruz County “turn off the faucets” that currently contribute to our high rates of homelessness. The initiative has been guided by a Leadership Council made up of more than 25 diverse stakeholders from across Santa Cruz County. Working groups and committees include dozens of other community members and organizational partners in our work, including: engagement, education, policy/program research, and advocacy.
The Strategic Planning Process
Smart Solutions has collaborated with the Homeless Action Partnership, our community’s Continuum of Care organization responsible for all applications for HUD funding for the county, to launch the current strategic planning process. This partnership has contributed to unprecedented levels of community-wide participation in the planning process.
The vision of the Strategic Planning Committee is that the diverse residents of Santa Cruz County will have access to safe, stable housing, will have incomes to support their well-being, and will have access to culturally competent services empowering them to meet their basic needs and lead dignified lives.
Over 100 community members spent nine months exploring the issues of homelessness in Santa Cruz County, and developed a 10-year strategic plan to prevent, reduce and ultimately end homelessness in Santa Cruz County.
The Public Forums:
At the forums, the public had the opportunity to hear and respond to the draft recommendations. Participants were invited to join three discussion groups throughout the evening, choosing from the following topic areas: the distinct needs of veterans, of families, of youth and young adults, or of adults (including chronically homeless and seniors) who are currently unsheltered or at risk of homelessness in our county; on what is needed to strengthen Pajaro Valley’s service network; and finally, on how to best to address safety and meet people’s immediate needs while longer term solutions are put in place.
Input from the public was considered as the final plan was developed to be used to guide the community’s work to address homelessness for the next decade.