Some key findings:
- At least $51.8 million was spent on temporary shelters in the two fiscal years, making it the highest spending category.
- At least $36 million was spent on rental assistance in the two fiscal years, making it the second highest spending category.
- Millions of government dollars went to Santa Cruz County nonprofit groups to operate temporary shelters, work with youths and provide other services to the unhoused.
Nicole Coburn, Santa Cruz County’s assistant county administrative officer, said the charts give “a snapshot of how money was being spent at a certain time to address homelessness.” Coburn said, “Why it was being spent that way depends on a number of factors, including the availability of different types of funding, so context is always important when we’re looking back at how we were allocating resources.”
The backdrop of 2020 and 2021 was the COVID-19 pandemic. More money was available from the state for homeless services to try to prevent the spread of COVID. More than three times more money was spent on homeless services in fiscal year 2020-2021 compared with the prior year, according to dozens of grants and other data compiled by Santa Cruz Local.
The charts include government contracts to nonprofit groups in Santa Cruz County for homeless services.
The blue, donut-shaped charts above include money spent by the Housing Authority of the County of Santa Cruz on housing vouchers for unhoused people. The housing authority is in charge of Housing Choice vouchers — formerly known as Section 8 vouchers — as well as other rent subsidies and services.
The red bar charts that describe spending in the County of Santa Cruz and the cities of Santa Cruz and Watsonville do not include housing authority money.