During the past year, the Santa Cruz City Council’s homelessness response has been to increase the capacity of managed shelters and adopt laws to limit overnight parking and camping. Do you agree with this approach, why or why not? What policies would you push for?
Hector Marin: When it comes to the (Oversize Vehicle Ordinance) and the (Temporary Outdoor Living Ordinance) that were passed, I believe those ordinances did not create enough solutions that helped out the folks that live in RVs and folks that are unhoused. We need to ensure that, yes, the city can impose certain ordinances which prevent the unhoused from being in certain locations to enhance safety and security of the area. Definitely not against safety and security, but what I am against is there not being any ample solutions that are after the fact of passing such ordinances.
Within my office, I seek to ensure that when we have the Santa Cruz city budget reallocate some of those resources into the human services divisions, and ensure that there is some sort of solution, and that those are funds available for not only homeless folks, but also the folks who are doing the work: the community organizations who are doing so many services to support the unhoused.
I’ve communicated with several community organizations which help the homeless community in Santa Cruz, and they are always telling me that there are just not enough funds from the city. Not only that, but when they reach out to the city, the city does not reach back out toward them. That’s all according to (some homeless services) organizations (I’ve spoken with), not myself.
I want to ensure that the line of communication is open when the reallocation of resources is delegated toward these organizations, and that there is active participation with the homeless community. There are more ample ways to help [resolve] the entire homelessness crisis going on over here. We need to make a Santa Cruz that is welcoming of all, not just tourists.