Santa Cruz County Shelter
& Care Task Force FAQs

Benchlands Shelter-In-Place Program FAQs

July 31, 2020

Program Description:

In response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the new Benchlands shelter-in-place program model ensures the existing site’s compliance with CDC and Santa Cruz County Public Health guidelines and will maintain a stable and safe environment for participants and staff. The new model, which is a joint effort by the County of Santa Cruz, City of Santa Cruz and local nonprofit partners, will include sustained outreach efforts over 2-3 weeks to connect directly with all current participants to provide information about the transition to a shelter-in-place site, including opportunities to participate in the program and to connect them with available services. Under the new model, a site manager will help reduce the health and safety risks to residents by ensuring use of face coverings and availability of hygiene services, as well as social distancing. Additional security will also be provided. Participants will have access to three meals per day, showers and storage space. The site manager will also work with outreach teams to engage with participants to connect them with services and programs focused on permanent housing, healthcare and job training.

A: The site will be staffed by a site manager, assistant site managers and disaster service workers.

A: Yes. All participants who express interest in alternative shelter arrangements will be provided them.

A: The site manager, outreach workers and the campers’ caseworkers are working to transition most vulnerable campers to appropriate shelter options, such as hotels through the state’s Project Roomkey and other shelter programs. Individuals who are not referred to other programs and choose not to join the new program are required to shelter-in-place at another location of their choosing.

A: Yes.

A: The new site includes a staffed gate. Because this is a shelter-in-place program, participants will be encouraged to limit travel to essential trips. Participants are able to exit at any time of the day. Site entry is available between 6:00 a.m. and midnight, at which time participants will be screened for COVID-19 symptoms.

A: The program has planned for up to approximately 70 people but can be scaled as needed.

A: The Benchlands Shelter-In-Place program is a short-term, critical response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Operational need for the program will be continuously evaluated, especially as seasons change and winter weather creates site challenges.

A: Federal, state and local funds associated with the response to the COVID-19 pandemic are being used to fund operations at the site.
Address: 1000 Emeline Ave., Santa Cruz, CA 95060 |
| Phone: 831-454-7312
| Fax: 831-454-4642