Systems Planning

Three-Year Strategic Framework to Reduce Homelessness

The County of Santa Cruz is pleased to present a first draft of Housing for a Healthy Santa Cruz: A Strategic Framework for Addressing Homelessness in Santa Cruz County (“Framework”). The Framework reflects the culmination of the 18-month long system review and community planning process with Focus Strategies, and has included substantial community work with all jurisdictions, key stakeholders, and those with lived experience of homelessness. The Framework sets forth an actionable plan with measurable goals, supporting strategies and clear objectives to achieve them. Implementation will be administratively led and supported by the new Housing for Health (H4H) Division in the County’s Human Services Department, with significant ongoing direct involvement and action by jurisdictions and key stakeholders being essential to the success of the plan.

The draft Framework is provided below along with the reports that Focus Strategies developed which were used to develop the Framework. After a public comment period that will extend through mid-December, the new Housing for Health Division will finalize the plan, taking public comment on the Framework into consideration, and bring it to the Board of Supervisors and Cities for adoption in January-February 2021.

A survey to collect community input on the Framework is under development. Please check back here soon to complete the survey, providing your input on the draft Framework.

Three-Year Strategic Framework

Marco estratégico de tres años

Systems Planning Background and Work to Date

Over the past 18 months, the Santa Cruz County Homeless Services Coordination Office (HSCO), has been providing leadership for the development of a Three-Year Strategic Framework to Address Homelessness in Santa Cruz County. The HSCO has engaged a national consulting firm, Focus Strategies, to conduct an analysis of the existing efforts and guide a community planning process to design a more systematic and data-informed approach that aligns the efforts of all the entities and organizations in the community working to end homelessness.

The HSCO and the HAP have jointly set up this web page as a place where we can keep the community updated on the progress of the Plan development and opportunities for input. We are also using this page as a place to assemble the many materials that have been developed throughout the planning process. These reference materials provide important contextual information that stakeholders may wish to consult as we enter into our last round of community input to inform the draft three-year strategic framework to address homelessness.

For a streamlined summary of the background and work to date, please review the Background and Context PowerPoint.

Focus Strategies Reports

Focus Strategies Santa Cruz Predictive Modeling Summary Report – October 2020
Focus Strategies Santa Cruz County Housing Market Gap Analysis – October 2020
Focus Strategies Santa Cruz System Performance Results Report – June 2020
Focus Strategies Santa Cruz Baseline Assessment Report – August 2019

Focus Strategies Presentations

Preliminary System Performance Results – December 4, 2019
Baseline Assessment Report Community Presentation Summary – September 11, 2019
Homeless System Planning Technical Assistance Community Kick Off PPT – April 17, 2019

Board of Supervisors Updates:

Short-Term Implementation Work Groups

Implementation Work Group Final Summary – June 2020



Housing Focused Shelter


Continuum of Care Reports and Information

California CoC 2019 PIT Counts
2019 Point-In-Time Count - Homeless Census and Survey Comprehensive Report – 2019
Ignore No More – Santa Cruz Youth Homeless Demonstration Program, Coordinated Community Plan – December 2017
All In - Toward a Home for Every County Resident, Community Strategic Plan – 2015

Addressing Homelessness with a Proactive and Evidence-based Approach

With approval by the Santa Cruz County Board of Supervisors and based on the work of the nationally recognized consulting firm Focus Strategies, which was engaged to help examine the response to homelessness in Santa Cruz County, the following is being implemented countywide:

  1. Retooling of the Smart Path coordinated entry program - a system to assess homeless individuals and refer them to the most appropriate service - with a goal of more quickly moving vulnerable people into services in order to reduce the number of people who are homeless.
  2. Implementation of systematic diversion strategies to enable homeless individuals or those facing homelessness to utilize existing resources and networks to avoid becoming homeless.
  3. Revision of existing shelter strategies to maximize effectiveness and accessibility of housing resources, designed to more quickly move people from shelters into permanent housing, as well as increase the efficiency of shelters to serve more clients.
  4. Redesign of the delivery of street-level outreach to those experiencing homelessness, based on a new coordinated and standardized approach that brings together outreach teams and their funders to share information, methods and measurable outcomes.
  5. Restructuring interagency homelessness governance to more effectively and efficiently address decision-making, planning, funding and outcomes.
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