New Year New Updates: State and Local Homelessness 2020

There is a lot of commotion in the City of Santa and the entire state of California around how governments can be more efficient in reducing the number of people experiencing homelessness. Recent data documented by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development reveals that California has “more than 151,000 homeless people, including more than half of the country’s unsheltered population — a 16% increase over last year”. We’re going to give you a brief summary of what’s been happening.

First let’s take a look at what’s happening statewide. Governor Gavin Newsom issued an executive summary that “requires state agencies to take urgent and immediate action by January 31, 2020 to make available state properties and facilities to rapidly increase housing and shelter options”. You can read the details of his order here, but basically he is proposing that a portion of California’s 2020-21 budget should go to tackling California’s homeless crisis, which is becoming a severe emergency. Newsom also went on a tour throughout areas of California to learn first hand about why cities aren’t able to address the needs of their homeless population.

Which then transitions us back to what’s happening locally. Due to Newsom’s executive order, the City of Santa Cruz plans to “repurpose the California National Guard Armory as a winter homeless shelter”. The armory, which hasn’t been used as a winter shelter since early 2016, is going to open temporarily and available for about 80 people. You can read more about what the City Manager had to say about the armory’s temporary opening here.

Lastly, the Community Advisory Committee on Homeless is also going to be gathering input on the City’s revised camping ordinance, and future criteria for placement of transitional encampments within the City. CACH will be receiving input from different parts of the community and on February 4th, they will be submitting their suggestions to the City Council. Stay tuned to find out what they come up with.