Housing Matters

Resolving Homelessness Together

SANTA CRUZ, CA   |  https://housingmatterssc.org

Mission

Housing Matters partners with individuals and families to create pathways out of their homelessness into permanent housing. We hold firmly to a vision that homelessness in Santa Cruz County should be rare, brief and non-recurring.

Ruling year info

1990

CEO

Phil Kramer

Main address

115B CORAL ST

SANTA CRUZ, CA 95060 USA

Show more contact info

Formerly known as

Homeless Services Center

EIN

77-0126783

NTEE code info

Temporary Shelter For the Homeless (L41)

Other Housing Support Services (L80)

Homeless Services/Centers (P85)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Communication

Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Housing Matters is working on long-term, permanent solutions to homelessness. We provide programs and services that move our participants toward permanent, stable housing. By connecting unhoused neighbors with housing, we effectively end their homelessness.

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Shelter Programs

Housing Matters runs four different homeless shelters on our Coral Street campus:
– The Loft
– Recuperative Care Center
– Rebele Family Shelter
– Page Smith Community House

Each of these shelters serves a different population, and all are designed to provide a safe place to sleep while working with a case manager to find permanent housing. We design these spaces to be welcoming and comfortable, while also focusing on moving people forward.

We believe not all shelter is created equal, and it’s imperative for all services — shelter, case management, support services, housing navigation, and more — to ultimately move a client toward housing. Shelter can be stabilizing, but it is not the solution to homelessness.

Collectively, our four shelters provide beds for about 200 individuals on any given night, which are nearly half of the beds available in all of Santa Cruz County. This service can be life-changing for those who are able to access it. However, the need in our county is much larger than we are able to provide for, with an estimated 80% of our local homeless population going unsheltered — that’s approximately 1800 adults and children without shelter in our community, every night.

Population(s) Served
Homeless people
Families

We shelter more than 200 people through the four shelters on our campus on any given night. We also serve about 260 unhoused people out in the community through programs we call support services. These programs provide case management, housing navigation, and more.

Housing Matters recognizes that there are as many different pathways to permanent housing as there are people. Each person’s individual circumstances will require different services and strategies. As such, there are a variety of programs available through Housing Matters, each designed to serve a different demographic and level of need.

Our most robust set of programs are our housing programs, which work directly toward connecting individuals and family with permanent housing. Through a partnership with the county, we also offer the CalFresh Employment Training (CFET) program.

Many of our clients continue to receive services even after becoming housed. At Housing Matters, we know that homelessness is destabilizing and traumatizing, and that some clients will need additional support to stay housed. We work hard to make sure each housing placement is successful — each client’s success is a win for the entire community.

Population(s) Served
Homeless people
Families

Housing is the heart of what we do. Every single service we provide is with the end goal of helping the client into permanent housing. While we have three formal housing programs, all of our services — shelters, day services, and support programs — are administered with an eye on housing:
– Permanent Supportive Housing (PSH)
– Rapid Re-housing (RRH)
– Diversion

For some, there will be many steps before getting the keys to a place of their own. For others, a little outside support can get a person back on their feet and moving right along. We meet all clients where they are, and work with them to identify the steps they need to take to get back into permanent housing.

Population(s) Served
Homeless people
Families

Our day services are free and open to the entire community, regardless of participation in a housing or employment program. We offer hot showers daily, restrooms open 24/7, and a mail room where over 500 people who don’t have a permanent address get their mail.

Our campus is also home to CalFresh enrollment, essential needs services provided by Wings Homeless Advocacy, multiple community group meetings, and more.

Population(s) Served
Homeless people
Families

Where we work

Our results

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

How does this organization measure their results? It's a hard question but an important one.

Number of people using homeless shelters per week

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Homeless people

Related Program

Shelter Programs

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Holding steady

Number of homeless participants engaged in housing services

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Homeless people

Related Program

Housing Programs

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Holding steady

Average number of service recipients per month

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Homeless people

Related Program

Support Services

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Holding steady

Number of people no longer living in unsafe or substandard housing as a result of the nonprofit's efforts

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Homeless people

Related Program

Housing Programs

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Holding steady

Number of bed nights (nights spent in shelter)

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Homeless people

Related Program

Shelter Programs

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Holding steady

Our Sustainable Development Goals

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn more about Sustainable Development Goals.

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

Housing Matters is aiming to end homelessness in Santa Cruz County. We have a vision that homelessness should be rare, brief, and non-recurring. That means that it should be rare that people find themselves homeless. If they do, our countywide systems should be able to connect them to appropriate and effective programs and services immediately, with no wait times. And, once they get back into housing, they should never experience homelessness again.

Our county currently does not have the capacity to reach this vision, yet it is what we work toward every day. No person in Santa Cruz County should have to endure the trauma and crisis of being without a home.

Our strategy is simple: Housing solves homelessness. The process is a bit more complex. We listen carefully to each person’s individual situation and then connect them with low-barrier services and programs that will best support them on their pathway to permanent housing.

Part of this connection to services includes providing case management to empower the individual or family to make a detailed and actionable housing plan. We then work with them every step of the way, as they get back into permanent housing. For some people, this happens in a matter of days. Others may take over a year to get back to housing, depending on what challenges they’re facing. But the bottom line is that we provide resources, know-how, and personalized support to empower them to get back on their feet as quickly as possible.

The biggest barrier for us is capacity. We simply do not have enough funding to serve every person who needs help. We connect people with housing each and every day, but we (as a community) need to do more.

We have a wide variety of programs and services that support our strategies. These services can be broken into a few main buckets:

- Intake and assessment. This is the first stop for people experiencing homelessness. We conduct Smartpath assessments to get people into the HMIS system, and we use our knowledge of available local resources to connect people to the resources and programs that best fit their situation.
- Shelter as a pathway to housing. We operate four shelters on our two-acre campus, providing shelter for approximately 220 people on any given night. The only requirement for staying in one of our shelters is that the client is working toward permanent housing with the support of our shelter staff. No person is alone on their journey. Everyone who stays with us must be actively working toward stable housing. Our shelters are simply a stepping stone.
- Housing programs. We have a variety of non-shelter-based housing programs that provide case management and housing navigation to serve those experiencing homelessness countywide. These programs offer personal support and many of the programs have funding for short- or long-term rental assistance.
-Day services. Our day services program offers hot showers, public restrooms, and a mailroom to anyone in the community. These services provide a first touchpoint for guests to connect with our staff and start to build relationships with service providers.
- Co-location of services. We are located alongside Homeless Persons Health Project, a County-run health clinic. This allows clients easy access to primary health care while they are in shelter or accessing other services on our campus.
- Employment training. We partner with CalFresh Employment Training to provide access to job readiness training for those who are able to enter the job market and need extra support.


We have been operating in Santa Cruz County since 1986, and are very effective at what we do. Driven by data and evidence-based best practices, we are always working on improving our programs and services.

Since 1986, Housing Matters has grown from a collection of tents and a soup kitchen to the two-acre campus it is today.

In 2022, we will be breaking ground on our next big initiative: a 120-unit permanent supportive housing development. This will provide permanent supportive housing for 120 of our most vulnerable neighbors — those who need ongoing support to retain permanent housing. This will be the largest development of its kind in the county, and it will be co-located with a new recuperative care center, behavioral health services, and more.

As we move forward, we will continue to collect data, hone our programs and services, and look for opportunities to expand the number of people we can serve. We believe that with continued hard work, community support, and political will, we can eventually resolve homelessness together in Santa Cruz County.

How we listen

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Seeking feedback from people served makes programs more responsive and effective. Here’s how this organization is listening.

done We demonstrated a willingness to learn more by reviewing resources about feedback practice.
done We shared information about our current feedback practices.
  • Who are the people you serve with your mission?

    Housing Matters serves people who are experiencing homelessness in Santa Cruz County. This includes adults and children; families and single individuals; teens; and military veterans.

  • How is your organization collecting feedback from the people you serve?

    Electronic surveys (by email, tablet, etc.), Paper surveys, Focus groups or interviews (by phone or in person), Case management notes, Community meetings/Town halls, Constituent (client or resident, etc.) advisory committees, Suggestion box/email,

  • How is your organization using feedback from the people you serve?

    To identify and remedy poor client service experiences, To identify bright spots and enhance positive service experiences, To make fundamental changes to our programs and/or operations, To inform the development of new programs/projects, To identify where we are less inclusive or equitable across demographic groups, To strengthen relationships with the people we serve, To understand people's needs and how we can help them achieve their goals,

  • With whom is the organization sharing feedback?

    Our staff, Our board, Our community partners,

  • Which of the following feedback practices does your organization routinely carry out?

    We collect feedback from the people we serve at least annually, We take steps to get feedback from marginalized or under-represented people, We aim to collect feedback from as many people we serve as possible, We take steps to ensure people feel comfortable being honest with us,

  • What challenges does the organization face when collecting feedback?

    It is difficult to get the people we serve to respond to requests for feedback, It is difficult to find the ongoing funding to support feedback collection, Staff find it hard to prioritize feedback collection and review due to lack of time,

Financials

Housing Matters
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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

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Connect with nonprofit leaders

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Connect with nonprofit leaders

Subscribe

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  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
  • Access beautifully interactive analysis and comparison tools
  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

Want to see how you can enhance your nonprofit research and unlock more insights? Learn More about GuideStar Pro.

Housing Matters

Board of directors
as of 06/30/2022
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board co-chair

Cecilia Espinola


Board co-chair

Don Lane

John Dietz

PrimeMuse

Cecilia Espinola

Retired, County of Santa Cruz

Tom Gill

Century 21 Realty

Mary Lou Goeke

Retired, United Way

Maggie McKay

Retired, County Mental Health

Ron Slack

Former Publisher, Good Times

Robin Stevens

50 States Marathon Club

Ray Bramson

Destination: Home

Don Lane

Former Mayor and Founder: Smart Solutions to Homelessness

Yana Jacobs

Behavioral Health

BeaJae North

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? Yes
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? Yes
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? Yes
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? Yes
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? No

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 10/13/2021

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? GuideStar partnered on this section with CHANGE Philanthropy and Equity in the Center.

Leadership

The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
White/Caucasian/European
Gender identity
Male, Not transgender (cisgender)
Sexual orientation
Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, or other sexual orientations in the LGBTQIA+ community
Disability status
Person without a disability

Race & ethnicity

Gender identity

 

Sexual orientation

No data

Disability

No data