El Niño is Coming: Save Winter Shelter
Tell your local elected officials in Santa Cruz County that we need them to help save winter shelter for people currently living on the street!
Every year for more than 25 years, all of our local governments have contributed funding to operate the winter shelter at the Armory. While local governments have budgeted some funding for the winter shelter again this year, sufficient funds to operate the full program have not been committed. If sufficient funding is not identified, the largest shelter to serve the northern half of Santa Cruz County will be curtailed this winter.
The need can be even more clearly seen in these numbers from our local homeless census:
-More than 1,354 unsheltered individuals countywide.
-More than 120 homeless children are not sheltered.
-About 200 people over the age of 60 are homeless.
-More than 500 women are homeless.
One part of the solution is at hand. The armory is available for use. All that’s needed is sufficient dollars to operate the program. And you can help make it happen.
Email your elected officials today!
- Mayor Lane
- Supervisor Leopold
- Supervisor Friend
- Supervisor Coonerty
- Supervisor Caput
- Supervisor McPherson
- Councilmember Hernandez
- Councilmember Cervantez
- Councilmember Hurst
- Councilmember Dutra
- Councilmember Garcia
- Councilmember Coffman
- Mayor Bilicich
- Councilmember Reed
- Councilmember Lind
- Councilmember Johnson
- Mayor Bustichi
- Councilmember Aguilar
- Councilmember Mathews
- Councilmember Posner
- Councilmember Terrazas
- Councilmember Comstock
- Councilmember Chase
- Councilmember Noroyan
- Mayor Norton
- Councilmember Bottorff
- Councilmember Bertrand
- Councilmember Harlan
- Councilmember Termini
- Councilmember McBroom
I urge you to allocate adequate funding to provide shelter for our vulnerable residents experiencing homelessness during the upcoming winter months. It is not just the responsible thing to do; it is the right thing to do.
This winter, we are expecting extremely cold temperatures at night and significant rainfall from El Niño. With 1,354 people identified as homeless and unsheltered in the 2015 homeless census in our county, we must do what we can to ease their suffering this winter.
The countywide “All In” Strategic Plan, which has been approved by all four city councils and the county board of supervisors, contains this clear recommendation in its Action Strategies: “Maintain existing emergency shelters to meet the pressing unsheltered need.”
It is also important to recognize the role that emergency shelters play in an effective system focused on long-term solutions. An effective system needs clear points of entry for its users. Without programs that meet immediate needs, people without homes remain on the streets and in community parks and open spaces, and there is reduced access to a system that can lead to a positive change in their situation.
The Santa Cruz County Grand Jury thoroughly documented our local shelter crisis and noted the following in this year’s report: “Emergency temporary shelters, though not a long-¬term solution to ending homelessness, serve an acute need. Demand for the county’s emergency shelters exceeds capacity with long wait¬lists, and many are turned away.”
Every year for more than 25 years, all of our local governments have contributed funding to operate the winter shelter at the Armory. While local governments have budgeted some funding for the winter shelter again this year, sufficient funds to operate the full program have not been committed. If sufficient funding is not identified, the largest shelter to serve the northern half of Santa Cruz County will be curtailed this winter. This will leave hundreds of people with nowhere to escape the cold El Niño rains, leading to illness and emergency room visits.
And this is not only a City of Santa Cruz issue. The homeless census found that there are about 800 unsheltered homeless individuals in the other jurisdictions of our county. Residents of Live Oak, mid-county and the San Lorenzo Valley know this first hand.
One part of the solution is at hand. The armory is available for use. All that’s needed is dollars to operate the program. And you can help make it happen.
Today: Smart Solutions to Homelessness is counting on you
Smart Solutions to Homelessness needs your help with “Tell Your Elected Officials: Save Winter Shelter”. Join Smart Solutions to Homelessness and 138 supporters today.