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Moving beyond NIMBYism: Learn how our community can make progress on affordable housing

couple w keys
(Housing Santa Cruz County)

Ask 10 people on the street and the majority will say: “Yes, we need more affordable housing in Santa Cruz County.” Deciding where to build those units, however, is an ongoing challenge.

Santa Cruz County is facing a housing crisis made worse by COVID-19 and wildfires. The community has made some progress on affordable housing. However, there is still some distance to go to meet the real housing needs of essential workers, low-income working families and vulnerable groups such as people with high medical needs, seniors and significantly disabled persons.

Many factors come into play when planning, approving and building affordable housing. So, how does it fit together? Santa Cruz County Affordable Housing Month 2022 presents a wide array of informative and inspiring events that explore affordable housing programs, issues, goals and progress happening right now.

Housing Santa Cruz County is hosting the “Housing for a Healthy Watsonville” Forum, happening Thursday, May 12 from 4:00 to 6:00 PM. The event will take a look at needs, challenges and opportunities to create affordable homes for the residents of the Watsonville area. Held at the Community Health Trust of Pajaro Valley, the forum will feature remarks from Watsonville Councilmember Francisco Estrada, County Administrative Officer Carlos Palacios, County Health Services Director Monica Morales, Watsonville Community Development Director Suzi Merriam and other special guests. The event is free; pre-registration is required.

Housing for a Healthy Watsonville Flyer
(Housing Santa Cruz County)
  • Event
    Housing for a Healthy Watsonville
    Join us for “Housing for a Healthy Watsonville” forum, exploring the needs, challenges and opportunities to create affordable homes for the residents of the Watsonville area. Free of charge, all are welcome to participate, but pre-registration is requested as capacity is limited.
    Thursday, May 12, 2022 - 4:00 PM

Of course, affordable housing is not just a South County issue. Cities and communities throughout Santa Cruz County have a state-mandated responsibility to increase their stock of affordable housing over the next decade.

On Saturday, May 14, a virtual event will provide an overview of affordable housing planned for Scotts Valley and the San Lorenzo Valley. Housing Element 101: An Affordable Housing Event for Scotts Valley and San Lorenzo Valley Communities will include information about the importance of Housing Elements (local housing plans), the upcoming Housing Element cycle, and what the state requirements for our local Housing Elements will mean for Valley communities. Planning officials from the County of Santa Cruz and the City of Scotts Valley will discuss local efforts to address the affordable housing crisis and possible solutions to increase the housing supply will be discussed. The talk will be from 1:00 - 2:30 PM; register here for this free event. Another opportunity to learn about the Housing Element, with a Santa Cruz focus, will take place on Wednesday, May 18, at 4:00 PM via Zoom.

Housing Santa Cruz County, which was founded a year ago in response to the local affordable housing crisis, actively tracks affordable housing projects in progress across Santa Cruz County. Stay up-to-date on progress and learn when community advocacy is needed to push projects across the finish line.

HSCC Project tracker
(Housing Santa Cruz County)

To get a countywide perspective on affordable housing developments, join Housing Santa Cruz County and Lookout Local for a “first person” report from each of the local government jurisdictions in Santa Cruz County featuring our four local city mayors and the chair of the County Board of Supervisors along with professional housing staff members. The Jurisdictional Housing Report, a free, virtual event will be Wednesday, May 25, starting at 7 p.m. Learn how each community is grappling with affordable housing — and how to be involved in each jurisdiction’s planning for affordable housing.

Housing Santa Cruz County is working across the county, engaging with citizens, businesses, community organizations and elected leaders to advocate for and promote affordable, safe, stable homes for residents and local workers.


“There is a dire need for increased affordable housing options to ensure our county is filled with inclusive, thriving, diverse and sustainable communities. Through our ongoing advocacy efforts for the advancement of affordable housing development and policies, we are working diligently to promote affordable, safe stable homes for local residents, local students, and local workers.”

— Adam Spickler, Housing Santa Cruz County Board Member

Be a part of this essential housing advocacy work today

See a full calendar of local Affordable Housing Month webinars, virtual workshops and community conversations on our website.

  • Event
    Santa Cruz County Affordable Housing Month
    As the lead organizer for Santa Cruz County Affordable Housing Month 2022, Housing Santa Cruz County is proud to present a wide array of informative and inspiring events throughout the month of May. Visit our website to find a hybrid of in-person and virtual events held throughout County, led by our organization and many others working diligently on affordable housing issues.

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