An Initiative of United Way
of Santa Cruz County


A newsletter to our allies

Community Recognition
Reception Picutres
If you haven't had a chance to see and experience pictures from our 1st Annual Community Recognition Reception check them out here!

We also have a few short video clips you can check out here and here!

More will be coming soon, so be sure to continue checking our Facebook page!

What Are Smart Solutions?

1. Evidence-based

2. Produce measurable results

3. Cost effective

4. Benefit the entire community

5. Take a step toward ending homelessness

6. Support the dignity of each individual

Our VISION is a Santa Cruz County in which every community member has some form of safe shelter, and where homelessness is a rare occurrence.

Our MISSION is to build the community will to reduce and ultimately end homelessness in Santa Cruz County through education and collaborative action.
United Way
F ollow us at Smart Solutions to Homelessness
United Way
In This Issue
Advocacy Opportunity: Santa Cruz Public Libraries New Outreach Program
If you support the library's efforts to connect individuals with available services and support, please consider emailing the Santa Cruz City Council and the Library Director .

A new library program happening Thursday mornings in front of the downtown branch of the Santa Cruz Public Library serves free coffee, offers a listening ear, and an optional second hour of one-on-one information navigation for people experiencing homelessness. The Coffee Talk and Working Together programs attempt to make core library services, such as informational appointments with a reference librarian, more known and accessible to those who may need them most, especially people experiencing homelessness. "We hope this program will contribute to bridging experiences between neighbors downtown, working against polarization and  facilitating a sense of community building and trust among people from all walks of life who are here to use the library." says Maile McGrew-Fred√©, Outreach Librarian.

In early January the Santa Cruz Sentinel ran an article on these programs that highlighted the great work being done. Unfortunately, the article has provoked a few antagonistic responses from community members who state that library outreach and information service should not be offered to homeless people who should even be discouraged from attending the library at all.  As a result, the library is currently being scrutinized for offering such a program and the future of the fledgling program is now uncertain.

The library is also in the planning stages for a series of community forums, talks and films to explore the issue of homelessness in greater depth. Through its recent strategic planning process the library heard loud and clear from community members that the organization could and should serve as more of a civic engagement incubator on this issue. Smart Solutions is in discussion with the library to develop content and funding to further this broader community forum.
Our city decision makers need to hear from a variety of perspectives, especially those who support new approaches taking shape. If you support the library's efforts to connect individuals with available services and support, please consider emailing the Santa Cruz City Council and the Library Director .

(Photo Credit: Dan Croyo, Santa Cruz Sentinel)
Smart Solutions 2017 Priorities
At our latest Leadership Council meeting we voted to update our 2017 priorities to the following:
  1. Affordable Housing
  2. New Revenue
  3. Integrating Systems and Community Support 
Two of these priorities have carried over from last year (Affordable Housing and New Revenue), with Coordinated Entry being replaced with  Integrating Systems and Community Support for this year.

We will be specifically focusing on the Housing Advocacy Network to reach our affordable housing priority. Be on the lookout for how you can be in action with the Network very soon! With the adoption of the All-In strategic plan, many involved in the local system of homeless services and funding have recognized the need to re-organize how this system is governed and how resource allocation decisions are made. Smart Solutions will participate in this discussion and advocate for a system that is in alignment with Smart Solutions' principles and maximizes community and stakeholder participation.

These ideas encompass just a few tangible ways we will be involved with our new priorities this year, and we look forward to working with you on expanding and getting more specific with the ways we can carry out our priorities.

Throughout all of our priorities we will make sure we are doing everything we can to protect those that are most vulnerable with regards to our new federal administration.
In Other News...
The Budget & Policy Center's reaction to the Governor's proposed FY 17-18 budget and housing.  Read More Here...