Affordable Housing Month 2023 Recap

June 15, 2023

Last month, the Housing Division co-sponsored and publicized multiple events to celebrate Affordable Housing Month 2023. The City of Santa Cruz and its affordable housing partners look for ways to engage with the community to educate and present the positive and extensive impact affordable housing has in the City each year. This year we accomplished that through making event details readily accessible by posting them on the City of Santa Cruz online calendar, our Housing Division webpage, our social media platforms, and more. Additionally, a streamlined Quick Guide that contained in person and virtual event titles, dates, times, with linked details including RSVP information was created. Online classes, webinars, film screenings, project tours, kick-off celebrations, in-person presentations, bike tours, and groundbreaking events were all on the May agenda and listed on our Quick Guide for easy and organized community access.

Here are some of the highlights from 2023 Affordable Housing Month.


KICK OFF EVENT - Affordable Housing Month Community Conversation & Celebration

Housing Santa Cruz County and The Santa Cruz Public Libraries hosted an incredible event at Cabrillo College's Samper Recital Hall to kick off Affordable Housing month the right way, with a celebration! The City of Santa Cruz joined affordable housing partners from across the region to set up booths with resource materials, swag, and informational handouts. The celebration featured keynote speaker Shane Phillips, urban planner, policy expert, and author of The Affordable City: Strategies for Putting Housing Within Reach (and Keeping it There), a children's corner with a book reading by Leticia Hernández-Linares, author of the children's book "Alejandria Fights Back!", and an outdoor resource fair with food trucks and live music.

Shane Phillips’ presentation is available HERE.

2 GROUNDBREAKING 314 Jessie Street

314 Jessie St. Groundbreaking

GROUNDBREAKINGNatural Bridges Apartments & 314 Jessie Street

To continue the celebration, the City of Santa Cruz joined New Horizons Affordable Housing and Development and the Housing Authority of the County of Santa Cruz to celebrate the groundbreaking of Natural Bridges Apartments, a 20-unit, all-electric affordable housing community on the Westside of Santa Cruz. The event included remarks from Congressman Jimmy Panetta, Mayor Fred Keeley, and other community leaders, followed by a golden shovel ceremony.

For more information on the Natural Bridges project click HERE.

In partnership with MidPen Housing Corp representatives from the City gathered at 314 Jessie St. for the ceremonial groundbreaking of the new five-story Jessie Street Terrace. The 50-unit 100% affordable multi-family development will include apartments for an on-site manager and services staff, and the remaining units will give preference to 22 homeless veterans, homeless individuals with a disability, and to other residents needing supportive services. All units will support those earning incomes between 20% and 50% of the Area Median Income (AMI). Community leaders, developers, and other Affordable Housing advocates spoke before the ceremonial golden shovel groundbreaking and reception.

For more information on the Jessie Street project click HERE.

IN-PERSON PRESENTATIONS Featuring Dr. Tiffany Manuel (DrT)

Dr. Tiffany Manuel (DrT), a national expert on building inclusive communities, was the presenter for two events held at the Temple Beth El in Aptos, California: Reimagining Issues that Determine our Future in SC County and Building Public Will for Action (a free presentation). DrT (she/her) is Founder and CEO of TheCaseMade. She has worked with thousands of passionate social changemakers, innovators and adaptive leaders around the United States who are building better, stronger communities that are diverse, equitable and inclusive. She is the author of Case Made! 10 Powerful Leadership Principles that Win Hearts, Change Minds, and Grow Impact as well as many reports, journal articles and scholarly papers.

Read more about Dr. Tiffany Manuel on TheCaseMade website HERE.

VIRTUAL MEETING The Housing Squeeze: Santa Cruz County's elected leaders tell us how they are responding

Hosted by Lookout Santa Cruz and Housing Santa Cruz County, folks had the opportunity to join a moderated discussion with Watsonville Mayor Eduardo Montesino, Santa Cruz Mayor Fred Keeley, Scotts Valley Mayor Jack Dilles, Capitola Mayor Margaux Keiser, and County Board of Supervisors Vice-chair Justin Cummings.

Each panelist had three minutes to introduce their jurisdiction’s work and housing plan followed by a moderated discussion with Lookout Santa Cruz Policy and Politics Correspondent, Christopher Neely.

The recoding video is available online HERE.

5 Habitat for Humanity Project Tour of Rodeo Creek Court

AFFORDABLE HOUSING PROJECT TOUR Habitat for Humanity Monterey Bay Home Tour at Rodeo Creek Court

Habitat for Humanity Monterey Bay hosted a tour of the Rodeo Creek Court Project, which the Economic Development and Housing Department participated in a build-day in March 2023. Habitat for Humanity Monterey Bay's mission is to build decent, affordable homes and provide home ownership opportunities to qualified families who live and work in Santa Cruz and Monterey Counties. Rodeo Creek Court is Habitat's eleven home development in the Live Oak neighborhood of Santa Cruz. At the time, they had completed construction on six homes and the families have moved in. The last five homes under construction were made open to the community to tour while staff remained on site to share information about their First-Time Homeownership Program for low-income families in Santa Cruz and Monterey Counties.

If you would like to volunteer with Habitat for Humanity, visit their website where you can sign up as an individual or as a team:

Click HERE if you would like to donate to support continued development at Rodeo Creek Court.

The Economic Development and Housing Department thanks all of the community members for celebrating Affordable Housing Month with us and we look forward to celebrating with you again in May 2024. Stay tuned for more updates on Affordable Housing Projects in the works and please make sure to visit our webpage HERE for information on affordable housing.

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