County houses dozens during 100-day housing challenge

By Phil Gomez

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SANTA CRUZ, Calif. (KSBW) — Santa Cruz has made progress in the governor’s 100-day challenge to help homeless people find housing away from encampments.

Santa Cruz County and three other counties took part in the effort.

There is still a lot to do, but the 100 Days Homeless Challenge is an effort to find yourself homeless on your way to housing.

“It is possible to get people who are not in housing moving into housing with the right kind of support,” said Housing for Health director Robert Ratner.

Figures released by the state on Tuesday show that 33 people who experienced homelessness are now housed, and 54 others are on their way to housing, using a combination of shelters and managed encampments. And now the county has moved into the maintenance phase.

“How can we help them keep their place that they have secured and provide them with the comprehensive services they need, whether it is health care or supportive education, support for employment, that sort of thing,” Ratner said.

The new lodgers came from the Watsonville and Santa Cruz camps, with the San Lorenzo Park Benchlands having perhaps the highest number of unhoused.

Recently, the city of Santa Cruz set a July deadline to remove and close the Benchlands encampments, but will provide shelter with 75 places at the Armory.

The 100 Day Challenge will help achieve this goal.

“I think the 100 Day Challenge is a great effort that the city has partnered with the county on and anything we can do to get people into more stable housing will help in that effort,” the manager said. of Santa Cruz Communications, Elizabeth Smith. .

During the 100 Day Challenge, lessons were also learned.

For example, greater outreach to homeless people is needed in South County.

Finding inventive new ways to help people connect with housing, including shared housing opportunities, room rentals, and helping people reconnect with out-of-state family and friends.

“I would say the biggest challenge has been finding landlords willing to participate and finding an affordable rental which has been a real challenge across the county,” Ratner said.

So the first step is finding accommodation, then finding a job, health care and counseling will hopefully be in place.

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