PROJECT HOMELESS CONNECT SANTA CRUZ COUNTY IS
TAKING ACTION TO HELP COMMUNITY MEMBERS IN NEED
This June Hundreds of Individuals and Families Experiencing Homelessness
Will Be Connected to Resources and Services
How is Project Homeless Connect Santa Cruz County taking action? We take action through two events per year; Santa Cruz Connect is in the spring and Watsonville Connect is in the fall. PHC Santa Cruz County is dedicated to helping individuals and families experiencing homelessness get back on their feet, by bringing together a variety of services and resources for those in need all in one day, all in one location.
The tenth annual Santa Cruz Connect will be on Wednesday, June 19th from 9:30 am to 3:30 pm at the Santa Cruz Portuguese Hall at 216 Evergreen Street. Transportation will be provided to the event from the Downtown Public Library (224 Church Street) and the Red Church (532 Center Street) from 9:00 am until 4:00 pm. Service Provider partners will also be using their own resources to transport their clients from locations throughout the county.
The event is free for individuals and families—made possible by the dedication and commitment of community members, services and resources throughout the county, and local businesses. Services provided include basic medical and dental care, vision care, mental and behavioral health care, benefit eligibility music, food, children’s books, clothes, bike care, pet care, legal advice, haircuts, showers, veteran resources, job help, and more.
“This event is so important to the community because it is a unique opportunity where people have access to some of the most essential resources for getting back on their feet—all in one location,” said Jenna Gallant, project manager for PHC Santa Cruz County.
“[This event] gives you an opportunity to return to having dreams of what you can become,” said Wayne, a client who attended Watsonville Connect in November of 2018.
“I see it encouraging both sides of the spectrum here. You have volunteers who have maybe even been part of the homeless community [in the past], and were helped by others, and now they’re able to give back. I feel that everyone is touched in one way or another by the support that’s given here,” said Mike Chandler, a volunteer at Watsonville Connect in November of 2018.
The past several PHC Santa Cruz County Connect events have connected hundreds of individuals to services, with the recent Watsonville event connecting over 500 individuals, one of the most successful events to date. Providers and volunteers for this year’s event are still welcome and needed.
Of individuals experiencing homelessness in Santa Cruz County, 80% are unsheltered. About 17% are unaccompanied children (under 18) and transition-age youth (18-24 years old), and an estimated 15% of individuals experiencing homelessness in Santa Cruz County are veterans of the U.S. Military. These numbers are according to the 2017 Santa Cruz County Homeless and Census Survey, conducted every two years.