Mission: Housing Matters partners with individuals and families to create pathways out of their homelessness into permanent housing.
Vision: We hold firmly to a vision that homelessness in Santa Cruz County should be rare, brief, and non-recurring.
Since our organization was created, our campus has evolved into four emergency and transitional housing shelters for nearly 230 people, a medical clinic, and a 12-bed medical respite care facility.
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Our organization began as a loosely affiliated group of faith-based and secular organizations, and was originally named the Santa Cruz Citizen’s Committee for the Homeless. The primary purpose, at that time, was to provide basic food and shelter for those with no resources to provide their own. Homeless individuals would camp on what was referred to as the “Back 40″ on the lot of our current location on Coral Street in the Harvey West Neighborhood of Santa Cruz.
In order to provide the campers with safety, security, and basic amenities such as heat and running water, the original group implemented the Interfaith Satellite Shelter Program (ISSP). During the years of the ISSP, homeless families and individuals ate a meal at our make-shift headquarters, then took a bus to various churches throughout the community, returning in the morning for a warm breakfast. Along with the creation of the ISSP, the Committee incorporated the Homeless Community Resource Center, which included the free meal program and free access to basic hygiene services, including toilets and showers.
After 33 years of service as Homeless Services Center, we proudly changed our name to Housing Matters in September 2019.
With the support of our community, we have intentionally surged beyond traditional homeless services. By igniting a community dialogue around matters of housing, we’ll make even greater strides towards resolving homelessness together. Now is precisely the time to be having a community conversation about why housing matters. Indeed, housing is how we’ll resolve homelessness together.
The new name reflects who we are today; we provide services to clients well beyond the walls of our campus; we are not solely a place-based “center.” We support people out in the community through a wide variety of services and programs.
Our mission and programs have not changed with our new name. Housing Matters has never been more deeply committed to making homelessness in Santa Cruz County rare, brief and non-recurring. Our programs and services continue to be laser-focused on partnering with individuals and families to create pathways out of their homelessness and into permanent housing.