Staff at a proposed low-barrier navigation center at 2202 Soquel Ave. would help people find housing and other services. (Stephen Baxter — Santa Cruz Local)

Last updated: March 2024

Project name: Low-barrier navigation center

Location: 2202 Soquel Ave., Santa Cruz

A map of 2202 Soquel Ave. site of a proposed low-barrier navigation center.


  • Construction is expected to finish by the end of 2024, wrote Alan Villatuya, a county spokesman, in a February 2024 email. 
  • The building is expected to be the first of three similar navigation centers in Santa Cruz County, Villatuya wrote in a statement.

At left, Santa Cruz County’s Behavioral Health Center at 2250 Soquel Ave. is a locked, acute psychiatric inpatient program run by Telecare Corp. Across its parking lot at 2202 Soquel Ave., a referral-based navigation center for unhoused residents is expected. (Stephen Baxter — Santa Cruz Local) 

Project description

The project is a 34-bed temporary supportive housing complex called a “navigation center” for unhoused people with behavioral health challenges. The project is expected to use “prefabricated modular designs for the construction,” a county spokesman wrote in an email.

The building is next to the county’s Behavioral Health Center operated by Telecare. People with court-ordered treatment plans through the state’s Community Assistance, Recovery and Empowerment (CARE) Court program will be prioritized for placement at this facility.

Santa Cruz County Housing for Health Director Robert Ratner called the project a “first of its kind referral-based facility in Santa Cruz County.” It will provide “a service-rich environment with on-site interim housing so that individuals with psychiatric health and substance use disorder needs are not discharged back to the streets,” Ratner wrote in a statement. 

“Once established, this program will help Santa Cruz County secure additional state and federal dollars to address homelessness,” Ratner wrote.  

“The Behavioral Health Bridge Housing Program represents a significant step forward in addressing the intersection of homelessness and behavioral health challenges in our community,” Santa Cruz County Health Services Director Mónica Morales wrote in a statement. 

“Through collaborative efforts and innovative approaches, we can provide much-needed support and pathways to stable housing for individuals in need,” Morales wrote.


A $10.2 million grant from the California Department of Health Care Services for the Behavioral Health Bridge Housing Program has funded the project. 


The County of Santa Cruz is the developer.

Stay on top of these housing projects and more.

Sign up free to get Santa Cruz Local in your inbox twice a week. We dig into Santa Cruz County's biggest issues.

Questions or comments? Email [email protected]. Santa Cruz Local is supported by members, major donors, sponsors and grants for the general support of our newsroom. Our news judgments are made independently and not on the basis of donor support. Learn more about Santa Cruz Local and how we are funded.

Learn about membership
Santa Cruz Local’s news is free. We believe that high-quality local news is crucial to democracy. We depend on locals like you to make a meaningful contribution so everyone can access our news.
Learn about membership