New project will end chronic homelessness for 120 vulnerable community members
The social and economic health of Santa Cruz County depends on the empowerment that comes when everyone has a place to call home and when the entire community rallies to support this vision. Housing Matters is building 120 units of permanent—and supportive—housing for people experiencing chronic homelessness in Santa Cruz County, putting them on the path to health and long-term housing stability.
By recognizing that every single person is worthy of housing and that housing is a powerful foundation from which to build health — physically, spiritually, mentally and emotionally — a new residential project is poised to offer the stability and resources to some of the most vulnerable unhoused members of the community through permanent supportive housing.
Housing Matters plans to build 120 units of permanent supportive housing for people experiencing chronic homelessness in Santa Cruz County. The organization, a leader in creating pathways out of homelessness and into permanent housing, is halfway through its summer-long “Building With Purpose” campaign to raise awareness, support and funds for the project.
“We are building the largest permanent supportive housing project ever undertaken in the county of Santa Cruz,” said Phil Kramer, executive director of Housing Matters. “The solution to homelessness is housing.”
By adding a permanent supportive housing building to Housing Matters’ campus, we are creating 120 units of affordable housing for people experiencing chronic homelessness in Santa Cruz County.
— Phil Kramer, executive director of Housing Matters.
Called the Harvey West Studios, the 5-story residential complex will be located on the Housing Matters campus at 115 Coral Street. The project has already received full approval by the Santa Cruz Planning Commission and building plans will be submitted for approval later this year. Construction will begin next year and the building will be ready for occupancy in 2023.
The project is supported by generous philanthropists, a bank loan, and public and private grants, including a $2.5 million gift from Central California Alliance for Health.
“If people are really interested in improving the health of the community overall, one important way to do that would be to invest in solutions to homelessness,” said Stephanie Sonnenshine, CEO of Central California Alliance for Health. “If people are housed they are more likely to be healthy. If people are healthy, we can focus on prevention as opposed to really expensive acute care.”
In about 300 sq. ft., each of the 120 apartments at Harvey West Studios will provide individuals modest accommodations. High-quality modular construction will incorporate passive design with low environmental impact, ensuring lower cost and time to build without compromising quality. The restorative environment will incorporate gathering areas, landscaped spaces, and a rooftop deck to foster intentional community and staff interaction.
Santa Cruz County’s lack of housing with onsite support perpetuates chronic homelessness in the community. Incorporating essential services onsite will ensure people experiencing chronic homelessness have the support they need to have a stable and comfortable place to call home.
So often when we think of homelessness in Santa Cruz County, we only see the problems. If we want to look, instead, at solutions, there is hope on the horizon.
— Susan True, CEO of Santa Cruz County Community Foundation.
In the last two years, more than 550 people have found a pathway to permanent housing with support through Housing Matters.
“A lot of people talk about the need for affordable housing in our community and Housing Matters is doing something about it,” said Cecilia Espinola, Board President of Housing Matters.
Learn more about Building With Purpose.