March 1, 2013 Update: Below is the email that went out today to all Summit participants, updating them on our progress and announcing that the new Leadership Council has been formed.
We’re excited to report that the Leadership Council has been formed. The selection process was difficult because so many people – nearly 80 – expressed an interest in joining. This was a good problem to have, though we then had to focus on establishing a group that balanced stakeholder and geographic criteria with the need to have a workable size. We believe we’ve come close to accomplishing this with the twenty-five people who have been initially selected to kick off this important new community working group.
And, we’re making fairly good progress on the other “next steps” that were outlined in the previous update (Jan. 17), though we’re running a little bit behind our original ambitious timetable.
- We are ready to move forward on education and advocacy work and want to invite all of you, especially everyone who expressed an interest in community (public) education and advocacy, to join us on Thursday, April 18 at 7pm at United Way in Capitola for a discussion on both these topics and areas of interest. Please RSVP if you plan to attend by emailing email@example.com.
- Significant progress has been made on engaging the business community. On Friday, Feb. 15, twenty-three business people gathered at United Way for a discussion on “The Business Case for Smart Solutions to Homelessness”. This group plans to meet again, to work on identifying specific areas where they can have the greatest impact. There is great potential for synergy and partnership, with the leadership council, as a few of the business leaders are also on teh newly formed council.
- A great number of you also expressed interest in volunteering. While we’re not able to provide a comprehensive list of all volunteer opportunities here, or to personalize them based on your area of interest, here are a few excellent resources and opportunities to get involved, including the huge one-day event in Santa Cruz called Project Homeless Connect, on Tuesday, April 9. Click here to sign up.
A great resource for a multitude of volunteer opportunities is The Volunteer Center of Santa Cruz. And, here are just a few of many other volunteer opportunities with organizations that work on issues related to homelessness:
- 180/180 campaign
- Community Action Board
- Homeless Garden Project
- Homeless Services Center
- Mountain Community Resources
- Pajaro Valley Loaves & Fishes
- Santa Cruz County AIDS Project
If there are other volunteer opportunities you’d like highlighted in the future please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
We look forward to working with all of you on our shared goal to reduce and end homelessness in Santa Cruz County. By working together as a community we can make it happen!
The Summit Planning Team
January 17, 2013 Update: An email went out today to all Summit participants updating them on our progress and next steps, with additional data and feedback from the Summit, including the video of Jerry Neuman’s (Home for Good, LA) keynote speech (inserted at the end of this update). Here are excerpts from that email. . .
Greetings & Happy New Year!
We are excited by your response and feedback from the Summit, and the opportunity before us to work together as a community, putting a plan of action in place to reduce and end homelessness.
A key part of this plan of action is to assemble a group of 20-25 concerned and committed community members (tentatively referred to as the leadership council) to guide and advance the “smart solutions to homelessness” we discussed at the Summit and a range of other important objectives. During the coming weeks, the Summit planning team, acting as the interim leadership council, will convene a meeting to review input from dozens of people who expressed their interest in a leadership role. We are focused on assembling a council that represents all geographic areas of Santa Cruz County, encompasses diverse interests, and represents all stakeholder groups. The goal is to have the council formed by early February. While one of the tentative objectives of the leadership council is to “synthesize and more fully report to all Summit participants on information gathered at the Summit”, we wanted to share some highlights from the Summit with you now:
As reported in our first email update, there were close to 250 participants at the Summit, and we were thrilled with the diverse representation from community stakeholders, including: Advocates & Concerned Citizens; Business People; Volunteers; Service Providers; Neighborhood Groups; Faith -based community; Law Enforcement; Government representatives & Elected officials; and Homeless & Formerly Homeless individuals.
More than 100 Personal Commitment forms were collected at the Summit, with participants expressing their interest to get involved in the following ways:
- 55 people indicated they wanted to volunteer with a service provider
- 75 people checked the “I will be an educator in the community” box
- 27 people indicated that they would donate money
- 77 people indicated they will “advocate for smart solutions”
- 53 people indicated they wanted to take a leadership role – “to forge plans and engage the community in addressing this pressing issue and finding smart solutions”
There is also a great deal of valuable and important feedback expressed in the comment cards and table-session work sheets from the Summit. There is too much to comprehensively cover here, though here are some key themes that emerged from the first group discussion – What does Success Look Like? – Imagine Santa Cruz with dramatically less homelessness…(paraphrased excerpts from what you shared):
- Landlords that would work with us; we – the community – look at this as our issue to solve together; business and services made to feel like partners and useful.
- Media and community dialog that is deeper, more accurate, less hysterical.
- Services are easily accessible; simplify the system; streamlined process; eliminate the maze; centralize database with ID cards; quicker access to help; [homeless] people would have a safe place; we’d see a gradual reduction in homeless numbers.
- Downtown – people would not be fearful; safer feeling in public places – parks, river levee; no one sleeping in back of office; not stepping over people; not feeling the tragedy.
- Community would be stronger – we are divided right now; stop criminalization of camping & sleeping out; more affordable housing; dignity & dignity for all; homeless helping each other; everyone cares; feel pride as a community – taking pride in taking care of people – we’d all feel better.
1. Arrange a meeting in early February with the future leadership council.
2. Connect people with volunteer opportunity that matches their areas of interest.
3. Reaching out to those interested in advocacy and community education to find out how they’d like to be engaged: online forum, workshop or meeting(s)?
4. Focus some of our energy on more fully engaging the business community.
Summit Keynote speech – featuring Jerry Neuman, from Home for Good, Los Angeles. It’s about 40 minutes long…
Thursday, December 13 Update: A follow-up email (excerpted below) was sent today to Summit participants providing an update and next steps. And, a bit further down this page we’ve posted the Summit presentation in an easy-to-view format. We’re still working on producing a video snippet of Jerry Neuman’s (from Home For Good, Los Angeles) keynote speech, and we’ll send out an update when this is posted. Email excerpt: “While the Summit was a great one-day event it’s just the start of a new phase of community conversation, engagement and action. The reason for this note is to follow through on our promise, to let you know that we are busy reviewing your feedback, ideas, table session material and personal commitment forms. We will be getting back to you shortly with summaries of the feedback, concerns and suggestions we received, and the next steps we are proposing.
- For those interested in joining the leadership group, we plan to arrange a meeting with all of you after the first of the year.
- For those interested in volunteering, we will follow up with you and/or connect you with a volunteer opportunity.
- For those interested in public education or advocacy – we will be forming working groups in each of these areas and offer specific opportunities for you to be involved over the next couple of months.
If, for some reason, you didn’t get a chance to fill out the Personal Commitment form indicating your desire to stay involved, here’s a convenient link to the online form. For those interested in donating money to help us continue our work together, there’s a link on the Smart Solutions website for your secure donations through the United Way.” Here are the PowerPoint slides from the Dec. 1 Summit:
“Community Matters” article from Mary Lou Geoke – Executive Director, United Way of Santa Cruz County SummitArticle-CommunityMatters
Sunday, December 2 Update: The Summit was a grand success! Close to 250 community members from across the county, representing a broad base of stakeholder groups, gathered to learn more about homelessness, discuss its impacts, hear about innovative solutions taking form in other communities and establishing a plan for greater community engagement and action. Speakers were informative and passionate about making real progress on reducing or ending homelessness in Santa Cruz County; participants were engaged, and went away feeling empowered with more knowledge and understanding, and inspired to get more actively involved. We will be posting here lots of information from the summit, so come back soon to learn more about what was shared, and what ideas and priorities participants identified. Here’s the latest press coverage, from the Santa Cruz Sentinel, Scotts Valley Patch, and Good Times. And, check out these great photo’s taken by Michael Curry. Here’s the 10-minute video prepared for the Summit, a variety of local voices reflecting on the issue of homelessness in Santa Cruz County: Friday, November 30 Update: The Summit is at capacity so at this time we are not taking new registrations. As with all events there will be some attrition so if you were of the mind to show up tomorrow without a confirmed reservation we will do our best to accommodate you after we’ve checked in those already registered.Here are a few logistical details: The event runs from 10am – 4pm. Doors open at 9:30 and we encourage you to arrive between 9:30 – 10:00 so we can sign everyone in and start promptly.
What can we do about Homelessness in Santa Cruz County?
The question itself strikes a passionate chord, with strong and divergent views in the community. There are many public and community based organizations providing programs and services to people who are homeless. Law enforcement and emergency response resources are used to address symptoms of homelessness. Neighborhoods, parks and business districts are impacted by homelessness, often in significant ways. However there is common ground – we all want less homelessness.
No single entity or program can address these issues on their own. We need a community-wide response and that means each and every one of us has a part to play.
Would you like to be part of the solution? Please join us at a community-built and countywide conference on homelessness with these objectives:
- Create broader and more diverse community engagement on homelessness.
- Develop better communication & coordination among those concerned about these issues.
- Improve understanding of the realities of homelessness in Santa Cruz County
- Share information about proven, successful models and solutions working in other communities including some that are taking shape in Santa Cruz County.
- Develop a shared vision for change and agreed upon action steps.
- Form an ongoing community leadership group to carry the work forward on shaping policies to address homelessness
We are seeking participation from all geographic areas of Santa Cruz County and representatives from all stakeholder groups including business, faith-based organizations, service providers, neighborhood groups and service clubs, law enforcement, elected officials, professionals, and people who are homeless or formerly homeless. Spanish language translation will be provided.
Event registration is required — please click here to find out more about registering. If you have questions please contact Phil Kramer, Project Coordinator at email@example.com or (831) 334-4976.
We look forward to your participation.