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Housing Santa Cruz County hosts community conversations and celebrations for Affordable Housing Month

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(Housing Santa Cruz County)

Finding an affordable place to live in Santa Cruz County isn’t easy these days. But finding a way to meaningfully change that is about to become a lot easier. Housing Santa Cruz County (HSCC), a diverse coalition dedicated to making Santa Cruz County affordable to all, is giving residents ample opportunities during the month of May to learn, discuss, and work together to advance affordable housing solutions across the County.

Housing Santa Cruz County flyer
County residents are invited to join the launch of Affordable Housing Month festivities with a street-fair vibe at Cabrillo College this Saturday, May 6.
(Housing Santa Cruz County)

“We’re so excited to bring our neighbors together for these critical community conversations and events,” said Elaine Johnson, Executive Director of HSCC. “We are so appreciative of the diverse voices and points of view that will be shared during Affordable Housing Month,” Johnson said.

County residents are invited to join the launch of Affordable Housing Month festivities with a street-fair vibe at Cabrillo College this Saturday, May 6, at the Affordable Housing Month Community Conversation & Celebration.

The event, co-hosted with Santa Cruz Public Libraries, will kick off the month’s conversation and celebration with live conversation, Q&A, and a book signing with Shane Phillips, author of “The Affordable City.” The event will also include a kid’s corner with a book reading by author Leticia Hernandez-Linares, an outdoor resource fair, food trucks, and live music from Matt Masih and the Messengers.

We’re going to make change for our communities and we’re going to do it the right way – inviting all our neighbors in, embracing our County’s values of welcoming and belonging, and learning and acting together.

— Elaine Johnson, Executive Director of HSCC

The National Low Income Housing Coalition named Santa Cruz County as the second most expensive county in the nation to rent a home in their most recent data from 2020. The County’s housing supply issues, which have been impacted by the floods in South County to ongoing wildfire recovery in North County and everywhere in between, have only exacerbated the County’s housing costs and resident’s housing needs.

Affordable Housing Month with Housing Santa Cruz County

“This is why our Santa Cruz County neighbors are counting on us to advance solutions that bring more affordable, accessible, and stable homes in our County,” said Johnson. “We need to think practically and act sustainably — but dream big. This is why I’m so excited that Dr Tiffany Manuel is joining us in Santa Cruz County to help us envision what that can look like.”

On May 11, the public is invited to the Temple Beth El for Building Public Will for Action,” a discussion with nationally-acclaimed strategist and social scientist Dr. Tiffany Manuel about reimagining our future and thinking strategically to advance housing, open space and climate issues from 4-6:30 p.m. Local leaders also are invited to a luncheon and talk with DrT earlier in the day. “Reimagining Issues that Determine our Future in Santa Cruz County” will be 1-4:30 p.m.

The conversations and connections that will happen this month will have meaningful impacts on the future of affordable housing in our community. Please join us.

— Elaine Johnson, Executive Director of HSCC

Working together, HSCC is building a leadership and organizational structure needed to align the political and community will necessary to create the housing — especially affordable housing — that Santa Cruz County needs to thrive. Learn more.

For more opportunities to learn and engage during the month:

  • Log in for a virtual event, Addressing Affordable Housing Needs in the San Lorenzo Valley and Scotts Valley, from 7-8:30 p.m. on Monday, May 8.
  • Learn about the Importance of Supportive Housing at an event co-hosted by Housing Matters in the Garden Room at the Santa Cruz Museum of Art & History, from 5-7 p.m., on Wednesday, May 10.
  • Join a bike tour and pedal on over for the Santa Cruz Housing Element Bike Tour from 10 a.m. to noon on Saturday, May 13. Start at Cat & Cloud Coffee (719 Swift St. in Santa Cruz) for a cycling tour focused on the Housing Element, then continue the conversation over refreshments at Lupulo.
  • Check in with elected officials for their take on affordable housing at the virtual event The Housing Squeeze. Santa Cruz County’s elected leaders will tell us how they are responding to the crisis from 7-8:15 p.m. on Thursday, May 18.
  • Celebrate the groundbreaking of Jessie St Terrace, 50 units of supportive apartments that will provide housing for individuals experiencing homelessness, including veterans. The event is Friday, May 19 from 11 a.m. to noon at 314 Jessie St. in Santa Cruz.
  • Interested in something lighter? Drop in for Housers Happy Hour at Abbott Square (118 Cooper St. in Santa Cruz), 5-7 p.m., Friday, May 19.
  • What is affordable housing? Shift the conversation and talk to people who have lived experience where their vehicle is their home at Defending the Right to Live in your Vehicle at Delaware Avenue and Shaffer Road in Santa Cruz, 2-3 p.m., Saturday, May 20.
  • See one way people are increasing the housing stock by adding onto their own properties at Affordable Housing in Your Backyard, 732 Riverside Ave. in Santa Cruz,from 3-5 p.m. on Sunday, May 21.
  • Then cap Affordable Housing Month with a two-fer on Tuesday, May 30. Start with the Natural Bridges Apartment Groundbreaking from 11 a.m. to noon at 415 Natural Bridges Drive in Santa Cruz. Finish at the Affordable Housing Panel Discussion, a lively conversation that will bring together the lessons learned and knowledge shared throughout the month. The talk will take place at the Downtown Santa Cruz Library, 224 Church St., 5:30-7 p.m.

Visit for the full list of offerings during the month.

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(Housing Santa Cruz County)