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

Executive Director

Phil Kramer

Deputy Executive Director

Rebecca Steckler

Main address

115B CORAL ST

SANTA CRUZ, CA 95060 USA

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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 all work 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. But it’s 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 the services and programs that will best support their needs.

Part of this connection to services includes providing case management, as available, to help the individual or family make a detailed and actionable housing plan. We then work with them every step of the way, as they get back into 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 barriers and challenges they’re facing. But the bottom line is that we provide resources, know-how, and personalized support to ensure they can 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:

- 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, but 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 people out in the community. These programs offer personal support, and many of the programs have funding for short- or long-term rental assistance.
Day services. We have a few day services, including hot showers, public restrooms, and a mailroom. These services provide basic human care while allowing clients to interact 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 but may need some extra support.
- Intake and assessment. We are the first stop for many who are experiencing homelessness. We conduct Smartpath assessments to get people into the system, and we use our knowledge of available resources to connect people to the resources that best fit their situation.

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.

We house more people than ever before each year. Since 1986, Housing Matters has grown from a collection of tents and a soup kitchen to the two-acre campus it is today.

In 2021, we will be breaking ground on our next big initiative: a 121-unit permanent supportive housing development. This will provide permanent housing for 121 of our most vulnerable neighbors — those who need ongoing support in their retention of housing, due to one or more disabling conditions. This will be the largest such development 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.

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

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Build relationships with key people who manage and lead nonprofit organizations with GuideStar Pro. Try a low commitment monthly plan today.

  • 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 3/24/2021
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board co-chair

Cecilia Espinola


Board co-chair

Don Lane

Katherine Beiers

Former Mayor

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

Theresa Kepple

Holistic nutritionist

Ron Slack

Former Publisher, Good Times

Robin Stevens

50 States Marathon Club

Ray Bramson

Destination: Home

Cynthia Chase

Past Mayor of Santa Cruz

China Clark

Lived Experience Advocate

Dr. Kevin Keet

Veterns Affair Hospital

Don Lane

Former Mayor and Founder: Smart Solutions to Homelessness

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 12/10/2020

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

The organization's co-leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
White/Caucasian/European
Gender identity
Female, Not transgender (cisgender)
Sexual orientation
Heterosexual or Straight
Disability status
Person without a disability

Race & ethnicity

No data

Gender identity

No data

 

No data

Sexual orientation

No data

Disability

No data