Low-Barrier Navigation Centers

Low-Barrier Navigation Centers (LBNC) are interim housing sites that transitions those experiencing homelessness into permanent housing. The centers follow “Housing First” principles by providing a safe place for people to stay while they get the support they need.

Low Barrier Navigation Centers (LBNCs) are not drop-in centers. They are staffed 24 hours/7 days per week and provide a safe and supportive place for residents to stay throughout the day.

  • Residents are selected by referral from qualified service providers, with individuals undergoing an assessment prior to being offered a space.
  • LBNCs are within a contained building/campus and are expected to have low turnover and minimal in and out traffic
  • LBNCs help reduce homelessness in the community.
  • LBNCs offer on-site supportive services for individuals to secure permanent housing.
  • Services promote recovery by providing person-centered, culturally responsive, and trauma-informed care.
  • Staff work with residents in a stable environment until they can move to permanent housing.
  • Participants sign an agreement to follow center guidelines and rules. Any illicit activity gets addressed by the 24-hour on-site resident services staff.
  • Average length of stay for residents is anticipated to be six months.

LBNCs aim to create a safe space for supportive connections and collaborative work on pathways to stable permanent housing for residents.

The Housing for Health Division of the Santa Cruz County Human Services Department is partnering with other County departments, cities, and local nonprofit organizations to establish three geographically distributed LBNCs within the county. These facilities will expand our regional capacity and help reduce the number of people living without shelter.

California Government Code – Title 7, Division 1, Chapter 3, Article 12, Section 65660
“Low Barrier Navigation Center” means a Housing First, low-barrier, service-enriched shelter focused on moving people into permanent housing that provides temporary living facilities while case managers connect individuals experiencing homelessness to income, public benefits, health services, shelter, and housing. “Low Barrier” means best practices to reduce barriers to entry, including, but not limited to allowing partners, pets, possessions, and privacy for participants.

Bridge Housing Site, 2202 Soquel Avenue, Santa Cruz

The County is building a 34-unit interim supportive housing center. It is being built on county-owned land and will use modular units. This allows the site to get developed more quickly with minimal noise and disruption to the neighborhood.

  • Priority access will go to Community Assistance, Recovery, and Empowerment (CARE) Act participants.
  • The center will be located adjacent to the existing psychiatric health facility operated by Telecare.

Project News:

Status: Portion of $10.2 million Behavioral Health Bridge Housing Fund award and Whole Person Care Housing Award from the California Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) will support the development of this site. Anticipated opening – late 2024.

Recurso de Fuerza, 118 First Street, Watsonville

This is a collaborative project initially funded by a California Encampment Resolution Fund (ERF) grant obtained by Monterey County in partnership with Santa Cruz County and Westview Presbyterian Church. The project will involve the development of a 34-bed modular unit program initially providing housing and services to individuals living in camps along the Pajaro River.

Status: Site development funding has been secured. Final plans for the site are under development. Anticipated opening – late 2024.

Coral Street Navigation Center (Coral Street Vision), 125 Coral Street, Santa Cruz

Status: Currently in the project visioning stage that will be followed by more formal planning and design work and strategic capital development fundraising.


If you have questions or would like more information about our interim housing sites in Santa Cruz County, please e-mail us at info@housingforhealthpartnership.org or call (831) 454-7312.

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.
Address: 1000 Emeline Ave., Santa Cruz, CA 95060 |
| Phone: 831-454-7312
| Fax: 831-454-4642