A parcel at 1777 Capitola Road owned by Live Oak School District
Live Oak School District officials are in the early stages of developing workforce housing at a site the district owns, at 1777 Capitola Road.
(Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz)
K-12 Education

Live Oak School District extends Meals on Wheels, Senior Network Services eviction to Aug. 30

During their regular board meeting Wednesday evening, Live Oak School District’s board approved extending eviction notices for the seniors services from June 30 to August 30 while the board finalizes a potential updated lease agreement. The district is aiming to build between 60 to 70 housing units on the nearly two-acre site across the street from Live Oak Elementary School, but Meals on Wheels says it has struggled to find a new location.

Meals on Wheels for Santa Cruz County and Senior Network Services have more time to find new permanent homes after the Live Oak School District approved an extension of their eviction notice until the end of August.

During their regular board meeting Wednesday evening, the district school board approved extending the eviction notice from June 30 to August 30 while the board finalizes a potential updated lease agreement. The site is located at 1777 Capitola Road in Santa Cruz.

“It’s our hope that over the next two months we can come to an agreement on a long-term extension of at least two years that will be beneficial for all parties involved,” said Tony Nuñez, spokesperson for Community Bridges, a local nonprofit that runs Meals on Wheels.

The board started exploring whether or not to develop the site for workforce housing in 2018, and last May gave the tenants a six-month eviction notice, according to Meals on Wheels. The district estimates it can build between 60 to 70 housing units on the nearly two-acre site across the street from Live Oak Elementary School.

Since then, the eviction has been delayed several times and the board created a subcommittee with Community Bridges and Senior Network Services representatives and local stakeholders to discuss how the school district could potentially integrate the program into its housing project.

“The board is still considering the option of Meals on Wheels and Senior Network Services being part of the workforce housing project,” district board President Kristin Pfotenhauer wrote in an email Thursday. “There are challenges in trying to figure out what works best for all organizations involved.”

Meals on Wheels of Santa Cruz County has been headquartered at the Live Oak Senior Center.
Run by nonprofit Community Bridges, Meals on Wheels of Santa Cruz County has been headquartered at the Live Oak Senior Center.

Meals on Wheels operates under Community Bridges — a local nonprofit that runs programs across Santa Cruz County providing a range of family and health services. Meals on Wheels provides daily meals for about 1,500 older adults. The program has been operating at the location, known as the Live Oak Senior Center, since 1977.

Senior Network Services has also been located at the site since the late 1970s, according to executive director Corey Azevedo. The organization helps connect seniors with a range of services such as housing and medical care.

Even if the programs are integrated into the housing project, they will need a temporary home once construction begins and until its completed.

With the current uncertainty, Nuñez says Community Bridges has been looking for a new location but hasn’t found a suitable space.

“We continue to search for a new location, but finding a long-term home in today’s economic environment has been difficult as the price of construction and property in Santa Cruz County continues to rise,” said Nuñez, adding “it is likely that we will need additional support to find a new home.”

The district purchased the 1777 Capitola Road property from the County of Santa Cruz through proceeds from Measure E, passed in 2004. In their argument for approving the bond measure, supporters said “Measure E funds will also be used to make sure the Live Oak Senior Adult Education Center is able to continue to serve our community.”

Santa Cruz County Supervisor Bruce McPherson, along with State Senator John Laird, and several others, signed the supportive argument. McPherson also serves as the county representative on the Area Agency on Aging.

“We have desperate needs for Meals on Wheels, that’s home for us,” he said on Wednesday. “I understand the need for [the school district] trying to accommodate faculty needs as well.”

He said the eviction notice extension is a good sign and that an agreement can accommodate both sides. McPherson added that rather than making the Live Oak Senior Center permanently located at the site, Measure E was a “strong suggestion” to keep it there.

Pfotenhauer said there is currently no set timeline for a final decision to be made about whether or not Meals on Wheels can be part of the workforce housing project. They are working out different challenges and questions about the possibility.

For example, she said, if the programs are part of the housing project, that could limit the number of housing units for the board’s teachers and staff.

community bridges meals on wheels
Nutritious food and emotional support from Meals on Wheels are invaluable to helping older adults stay healthy in their own homes. And it’s a wonderful way to give back and connect with neighbors. Sign up for a delivery route here.
(Community Bridges)

At this point in the development of the workforce housing project, Pfotenhauer said the district has an educator housing committee that has surveyed staff to understand their preliminary needs from a housing project. The committee also had NineteenSix architecture firm conduct preliminary studies for the number of potential units on the site and made recommendations to the board.

She added that the board hired Isom Advisors to conduct a survey with local residents to gauge their thoughts on a potential bond to partially finance the housing project.