dst header
Civic Group
Downtown Streets Team Santa Cruz

Our goal is to end homelessness in our lifetime: one community at a time.

Years of service: 5

Leadership: Heather Mietz Egli | h.egli@streetsteam.org | (831) 889-8847

Their story: The Santa Cruz Team was launched in 2017 through a mix of funds from the city and private donors. The Team won numerous honors after its first year including Organization of the Year from the Chamber of Commerce. The City of Santa Cruz originally funded four Teams: Downtown Santa Cruz, Cowell’s Beach, Harvey West, and the Levee. Funding from the County of Santa Cruz launched our North County, Emeline, and Syringe Abatement Teams. In March 2021, we launched two new Teams in Midtown and an afternoon shift in Downtown. DST is currently collaborating with the Coastal Watershed Council (CWC) and local river ecologist, Jane Mio, to run an environmental stewardship program on Tuesdays along the San Lorenzo River.

Fundraising focus: As folks from near and far flock to Santa Cruz County beaches during the COVID-19 pandemic, the local Downtown Streets Team — one of 16 in Northern California — has been busier than ever. The crew’s cleanup efforts span from Main and Cowell beaches all the way up to Panther, as team members work to keep these stretches of sand as safe and trash-free as possible. Donations are needed to pay for the gift cards and case-management services given to the team’s men and women, most of whom don’t have homes of their own. These volunteers joined the Downtown Streets Team as a stepping stone toward a better life, both personally and professionally. Other cleanup and beautification projects along the San Lorenzo Riverwalk and the Harvey West neighborhood would benefit from additional funding, too.

We believe that treating people with dignity and empowering them to be a part of the solution to their struggles is a major factor in their ultimate success.