September 8, 1999
AGENDA: September 21, 1999
Board of Supervisors
County of Santa Cruz
701 Ocean Street
Santa Cruz, California 95060
Response to the 1998-99 Grand Jury Report
Response to the 1998-99 Grand Jury Report
Dear Members of the Board:
Attached for your approval are the proposed responses to the recommendations contained in the
1998-99 Final Report from the Civil Grand Jury pertaining to matters under the control of the
Board of Supervisors. The response also constitutes the required response of the County
Administrative Officer and various County Departments to the Grand Jury's recommendations.
Copies of the required responses from the District Attorney, the Sheriff-Coroner, and the Public Defender have been submitted to the Presiding Judge of the Grand Jury under separate cover and are attached for information purposes only.
As your Board is aware, Assembly Bill 829 was enacted during the last legislative session
establishing the Civil Grand Jury Training, Communication, and Efficiency Act of 1997. The
legislation provided for certain modifications relating to grand juror response format. The format
of this response is in compliance with those modifications.
IT IS THEREFORE RECOMMENDED THAT YOUR BOARD approve the attached response
to the recommendations in the 1998-99 Grand Jury Final Report and request the Chairperson to
forward the response to Superior Court Judge Heather Morse, Presiding Judge for the 1998-99
Very truly yours,
Susan A. Mauriello
County Administrative Officer
cc: Mark Tracy, Sheriff Ron Ruiz, District Attorney
Lawrence Biggam, Public Defender Christine Patton, Courts
Cecilia Espinola, HRA Administrator
Board of Supervisor Response
to 1998-99 Grand Jury Report
YOUTH COALITION RESPONSE TO GRAND JURY SPECIAL REPORT ON "YOUTH
AND SUBSTANCE ABUSE" (Page 14)
Actively solicit more youth input for community problems that involve youth.
Include the representation of a youth spokesperson or advocate on any "youth-focused task force" formed within the county.
The County agrees with the recommendations of the Grand Jury. Although County Commissions
have had difficulty in the past finding young people who were interested in participating in their
activities, the County will continue reaching out to this population.
Create a county-wide task force with the express purpose of investigating water supply for all users in the county. Within the next year, make recommendations to the pertinent public and private County and City agencies for long term solutions to the existing and future water shortages.
The County of Santa Cruz currently hosts an Interagency Water Resources Working Group. That group consists of the managers of the eight principal water purveyors, the County Administrative Officer, the Planning Director, the Health Services Agency Administrator, and appropriate county staff. This group is already meeting to focus dialogue on opportunities for regional collaboration on short term and long term water supply and water management programs. It is the County's opinion that the individual water districts and departments represented on this working group already are entrusted with the responsibility and authority to pursue solutions to existing and future water shortages in each of their respective jurisdictions. Additional oversight could be accomplished by bringing the recommendations of the Interagency Water Resources Working Group to the County Water Advisory Commission for public review and discussion. Water managers on the Interagency Water Resources Group may disseminate information on the progress of the working group to their respective Boards and constituents.
Recommendations for water management programs and policy will be made to the Board of Supervisors over the next year in a series of progress reports related to various aspects of water resources management. Water supply planning will be addressed in the scheduled progress reports, and the identification of long term solutions will evolve out of that process.
All water departments and districts issue to their customers, firm conservation plans for a drought situation.
Although the Santa Cruz County Flood Control and Water Conservation District is not a
purveyor of water and therefore has not prepared a drought contingency plan, the County
General Plan identifies numerous policies and programs for water conservation in Chapter 5,
Conservation and Open Space, and in Chapter 7, Parks, Recreation, and Public Facilities.
County staff have recently become increasingly active evaluating water conservation activities
and are presently participating on a committee which is exploring opportunities to collaborate
on water conservation activities throughout the county and on an agricultural water conservation
committee led by the Pajaro Valley Water Management Agency. In addition, the Interagency
Water Resources Working Group is currently working on methods to expand conservation
BLAINE STREET WOMEN'S FACILITY (Page 33)
FINDINGS: The facility consists of four primary housing units that contain a total of 21 double-bunked rooms. Each room is also equipped with a desk, bulletin board and small lockers for personal belongings. Each housing unit has three sinks, toilet and shower. Recreation, exercise, crafts and library/classroom areas are provided. A small garden and patio are available adjacent to the facility. A modern kitchen is used by the women to prepare their meals, using food components supplied by the Main Jail facility. Laundry is processed off-site.
COUNTY RESPONSE: The County agrees with these findings.
FINDINGS: The California Government Code requires the facility to have emergency power which can be achieved by using a generator. On numerous occasions, power outages have left the facility without lighting. It was determined there was inadequate capacity on the existing generator at the Main Jail, and it was decided to buy a new unit specifically for Blaine Street. The funding allocated is less than half of what current bids are to complete the project. County General Services estimates that the unit could be in place within two weeks of approval of adequate funding.
COUNTY RESPONSE: The County agrees with these findings, and a generator will be installed this year.
FINDINGS: Despite the available sleeping space for 42 persons, other functions of the facility, such as food preparation, dining, living, program areas and staff supervision, are compromised if they exceed the maximum allowable capacity. Blaine Street is rated by the Board of Corrections for 32 inmates. In 1998, the average monthly population was 33 inmates. The average length of an inmate's incarceration was 195 days.
COUNTY RESPONSE: The County agrees with these findings.
FINDINGS: The staffing consists of one permanently assigned Supervising Detention Officer and two Detention Officer positions assigned on a rotating basis from staff at the Main Jail. Scheduling does not provide for more than one officer on duty at any given time, unless the Supervising Detention Officer is on site. During evenings and nights, only one officer is on duty for the entire facility. A single staff member cannot effectively monitor inmate safety and conduct and still provide the services necessary to efficiently operate the facility.
COUNTY RESPONSE: Blaine Street is a minimum security facility. As such, the County
believes that the existing staff level is sufficient to effectively and safely manage the facility.
FINDINGS: The facility still has several areas of high security risk. Fencing is minimal. The facility is open to the street and the parking lot which creates the risk of trespassing, smuggling and loitering. No video surveillance was incorporated into the original plans. Requests for video equipment were submitted. Of the $35,000 requested, only $500 was received. Since 1997, three video cameras and split-screen monitors have been acquired in a piece meal fashion. Currently, there is no funding available to install the video equipment already purchased.
COUNTY RESPONSE: Blaine Street is a minimum security facility, and available funds are
more urgently needed in other areas of the sheriff's operations. With the installation this fiscal
year of the vedeo surveillance system for the premises, the County believes that the current
security of Blaine Street is satisfactory.
FINDINGS: Transportation, escorts, visiting supervision, searches or emergencies require the officer on duty to summon assistance from the main jail. Training for assignment to the facility is minimal. The average Detention Officer may receive less than one day of "orientation" before being assigned to unsupervised duty at Blaine Street.
COUNTY RESPONSE: Blaine Street is a minimum security facility. All officers are suitably trained before being assigned to Blaine Street. In addition, its proximity to the Main Jail provides quick support when needed.
Inmates have structured work assignments or chores within the facility. They are responsible for all maintenance and cleaning. The facility is well maintained and exceptionally clean. Inmates tend to be cooperative so they may serve their time at Blaine Street instead of the Main Jail.
There are currently four work furlough inmates who are housed at the facility. During the day, the Probation Department is responsible for supervision of these inmates at their work sites in the community.
The inmate population consists primarily of drug and alcohol offenders. Since 1996, substance abuse counseling has been made available. Random drug testing is conducted on about 20 inmates per month. There is a notable trend of younger inmates with a higher incidence of heroin abuse than in past years. An inmate must be drug and alcohol free while in this facility. Detox is only available at the Main Jail.
There is minimal access to medical staff at this facility. A nurse visits the facility daily in the mornings. Non-narcotic and non-psychiatric medications are distributed by the Detention Officer on duty, not by the nurse. Under supervision, inmates then administer medications to themselves. All other needs must be met by an individual medical response or by the inmate being escorted to the Main Jail where more extensive professional medical services are available.
Several educational and vocational programs, including classes on parenting, are available to the inmates. The computer lab has two computers with software that supports G.E.D. preparation and E.S.L. (English as a Second Language) studies. The County's Human Services Agency (HSA) program funds health related education programs. Inmates are encouraged to participate in a variety of therapeutic programs as well. Examples of these are Alto counseling, Narcotics Anonymous and Alcoholics Anonymous. About 65% of inmates participated in the programs presented by Pajaro Valley Prevention substance abuse programs during 1998. Once inmates complete this ten-week program, they earn a certificate which can qualify them for a sentence modification. Many of these programs are funded through Inmate Welfare funds.
Visitation is once a week for two hours per inmate. They have a choice of Saturday or Sunday. Visits take place in the dining and patio areas. A Visiting Request Log must be submitted to the duty officer two days prior to visiting day for up to two adult visitors and any number of children. Visitors are screened prior to approval of the visit.
COUNTY RESPONSE: The County agrees with these findings.
RECOMMENDATION: Expedite the allocation of adequate funds for the prompt installation of a generator so that this facility is no longer in violation of California Government Code requirements.
COUNTY RESPONSE: The 1999-2000 budget includes funding for the installation of the
RECOMMENDATION: Allocate full funding for purchase and installation of a complete video surveillance system for the premises.
COUNTY RESPONSE: The Sheriff's Office has purchased new monitoring cameras this year,
and they will be installed soon.
RECOMMENDATION: Assignment of a Sergeant-level Detention Officer to the facility as the primary supervisor, a Supervising Detention Officer during evenings and weekends, and adequate Detention Officer staff to the facility to ensure a minimum coverage of two staff on site at all times.
COUNTY RESPONSE: Assignment of additional staff to Blaine Street is not feasible due to budget constraints. Blaine Street houses minimum security inmates, and the staff to inmate ratio exceeds the statewide standard of 1 to 50. The County believes that the current staffing ratio is appropriate.
RECOMMENDATION: Evaluate the methods employed to provide medical staff availability for inmates.
COUNTY RESPONSE: Medical staff are readily available to Blaine Street from the Clinic at
the Main Jail, and regular clinic calls are held to provide medical services to inmates in a timely
and appropriate fashion. The County believes that the availability of medical staff to inmates of
Blaine Street is satisfactory.
RECOMMENDATION: Evaluate the procedures used to dispense medications to inmates.
COUNTY RESPONSE: The policy for dispensing of medications to inmates will be examined
during the next month by an independent evaluator during the annual Health and Medical
Inspection of all Sheriff's Detention facilities. All medical procedures used in the Blaine Street
facility comply with the pertinent state and federal regulations.
There are 650 inmates in the entire system which includes the Main Jail, the Blaine Street Facility, Rountree and the Jail Farm. The California State Board of Corrections conducts an inspection bi-annually.
The Main Jail houses inmates incarcerated for serious and violent crimes. It is also a holding facility for inmates awaiting trial. Inmates considered a "suicide risk" are also confined here. Women and men are confined in separate areas. The officers at the Jail do not carry firearms. The average daily population of the Main Jail in 1998 was almost 400 inmates. Bunks have been placed in the day rooms in order to accommodate excess inmates. Kitchen facilities are adequate. Inmates are fed in their detention areas rather than in a central area. Even under normal, day-to-day operation, the facility appears understaffed. The average inmate stays approximately 20 days. The Main Jail population increases during the summer. At the end of the summer of 1998, there were 460 inmates. Most are locals, and over 50% are charged with felonies. They can remain in the jail for up to one year. There are presently 11 murder suspects incarcerated awaiting trial. Females comprise about 8% of the 650 inmates.
Approximately 90% of inmates are incarcerated for crimes involving drug and alcohol abuse. Younger, more violent inmates and aging inmates with extensive records are being seen more frequently. There is an increased presence of prison-based gangs.
The Health Services Agency of the County of Santa Cruz contracts to operate a 24-hour clinic on site. It is not an infirmary. The local hospital will not accept mentally ill persons who have been charged with a crime. A grant to handle mentally ill inmates has been applied for, with proposed mid-level guardianship. Consideration is also being given to leasing space for the mentally ill.
Improvements have been made to the facility with respect to suicide prevention. The suicide victims of years past may have been third-strike candidates.
Issues affecting the Main Jail presently are: overcrowding, handling of mentally ill inmates, inmate violence and understaffing of detention officers. The ratio is currently one officer to 50 inmates. It is difficult to recruit officers because of the higher salaries paid in contiguous counties.
There is a backup of arrested individuals during the booking process on weekends and holidays. Overcrowding is a serious problem on three-day weekends. Offenders being held on DUIs and some relatively minor crimes clog the facility. The safety of deputies and inmates alike is at risk during periods of overcrowding.
There is a fully equipped courtroom on the premises that is underutilized.
Breath analyzers are now being used to obtain more accurate accounting for DUIs.
The computer room is not being utilized because there is no personnel available to supervise its use (unsupervised inmates misuse the equipment).
COUNTY RESPONSE: The County agrees with these findings, with the following additional comments.
The facility has been understaffed due to vacant positions. The Sheriff's Office is working with the Personnel Department to facilitate expeditious hiring of new officers for the jail. The Board approved a full-time background investigator for the 1999-2000, and the hiring rate has doubled since the position was filled.
The Sheriff has streamlined the intake process and will educate the local police agencies about these changes. During special events and holidays, additional staff is allocated and intakes are expedited using specially assigned teams of officers.
RECOMMENDATION: Fund additional staffing of detention officers to insure safety of prisoners and officers alike.
COUNTY RESPONSE: The Board approved funding for four officers during 1998-99 to open
up the second housing unit at the Medium Security Facility, which greatly alleviated the
overcrowding at the Main Jail. For 1999-2000, the Board approved an additional two officers.
These actions should result in adequate staffing for the Main Jail.
RECOMMENDATION: Establish holiday weekend arraignment court at the Main Jail courtroom to process offenders.
COUNTY RESPONSE: The establishment of a holiday weekend arraignment court at the Main Jail courtroom does not appear to be feasible with the existing judicial vacancy. The establishment of such a court is the responsibility of the local judiciary and would have a substantial financial effect on the Court's budget, which is funded by the State of California. In addition, such a court would increase costs for the Public Defender, the District Attorney, and the Sheriff. Should the Courts wish to pursue this course of action, the County would participate in evaluating its cost effectiveness. (See attached letter from the Public Defender's Office.)
RECOMMENDATION: Provide supervised use of computers to inmates for legal business and correspondence. Loss of inmate computer privileges as a consequence of misuse or abuse.
COUNTY RESPONSE: There currently is no computer room for inmates at the Main Jail. The
Sheriff recently appointed a Programs Officer for the Main Jail who will oversee any plan for
computer use and training for Main Jail inmates.
Eligibility for the minimum/medium facilities is primarily determined at the Main Jail and is based on a point system. Inmates receiving fewer than five points are housed at the minimum facility while those who have received five or more points are housed at the medium facility. Persons having an Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) hold placed on them are also housed at the medium facility. Classification officers at the facility handle the majority of the disciplinary actions and can reclassify inmates as needed. Eligibility for classification is continuous at the Rountree complex and helps to facilitate inmate movement among the two facilities and provides space for transfers from the Main Jail.
The facility is rated by the State Board of Corrections to accommodate 48 inmates in each of the two housing units. In February of 1999, funding and staffing were secured to open up the second dormitory unit bringing the rated facility capacity to 96 inmates. Each of the two housing units consists of six sleeping bays with one bay used as a TV room. There is a toilet/shower area, a small enclosed meeting room, an inside recreation area and an outdoor courtyard. A staffed detention officer's station located in the middle of each housing unit, combined with a central monitoring system, provides direct supervision 24 hours a day. This facility provides needed relief to crowding at the Main Jail. On the day of our inspection, there were 33 inmates in one unit and 27 in the other. The average length of stay is 90 to 120 days.
A law library and classrooms are available so inmates may study and participate in various programs, such as Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous and English as a Second Language. Inmates earn certificates for completing these programs. Visitor rooms are available by appointment. There is also a nurse's station with three exam rooms. At this time, there is no nurse on duty. This situation is in the process of being rectified.
All meals for both the minimum and medium facilities are prepared in the stainless steel kitchen at the medium facility. Inmates from the minimum facility taking classes in food preparation prepare the meals. Although the kitchen is spotless, the floor is scuffed and damaged.
The inmates have structured chores and are responsible for all janitorial services. The facility appears exceptionally clean and well maintained.
Although the funding was secured to provide four new staffing positions in February of 1999, one allocated position was reassigned for department background checks and is being back-filled with part-time staff. Two additional Rountree positions have been assigned to the Main Jail and are not being back-filled with part-time staff. This has left the facility with a thinly stretched staff and officers working 12-hour days.
COUNTY RESPONSE: The County agrees with the above findings, with the exception of
information on staffing levels. The position which was assigned to background checks was
replaced. The County believes that the staffing levels at the Main Jail are appropriate.
RECOMMENDATION: Continue with current plans to staff nurse's station.
COUNTY RESPONSE: The approved position for a nurse at the Medium and Minimum
Security facilities has recently been filled, and the position will soon be staffed.
RECOMMENDATION: Replace worn flooring in the kitchen area.
COUNTY RESPONSE: The Board approved funds in the 1999-2000 budget for the
replacement of the floor in the kitchen of the Medium Security facility. The General Services
Department is currently procuring a qualified contractor.
RECOMMENDATION: Return the staffing positions to full complement to provide needed relief for officer vacations, training, illness, etc.
COUNTY RESPONSE: The number of positions authorized for the Medium Security facility is appropriate. Staffing difficulties have resulted from vacancies. Management policies to streamline the hiring process are expected to alleviate the problem of vacancies.
The facility is rated by the State Board of Corrections to accommodate 162 inmates and has the capacity to house up to 250. On the day of our inspection, there were 166 inmates. Inmates sleep in the bunk area of the main building. The main building also includes a private shower/toilet area, a dining room and a recreation area with ping-pong tables, televisions and telephones. The building is in good condition with one exception. The original roof has evidence of dry rot.
A separate classroom housing a computer lab features 18 computers with one computer connected to the Internet. Computer skills, English as a Second Language, and General Educational Development (G.E.D.)diplomas are some of the classes being offered to the inmates.
During the day, the inmates spend their time participating in one of the many programs available to them. Programs include:
Food Preparation (Kitchen)
Auto Body Shop
Substance Abuse/Prevention/Wellness Classes
The Office of Education pays for the Regional Occupational Programs (ROP) classes.
The outdoor facility includes a recreation area, a garden with birds including peacocks, a Zen garden, a vegetable garden and a new koi pond.
The inmates are responsible for janitorial and maintenance duties. The facility is clean and well maintained.
The work furlough program that allowed inmates to work outside the facility during the day and return in the evening has been canceled.
Visits are allowed on Sundays on the front lawn.
COUNTY RESPONSE: The County agrees with the findings.
Repair or replace the original roof.
COUNTY RESPONSE: The Board authorized funding for replacement of the roof in the 1999-2000 budget.
The majority of the youth that come to Above The Line are already addicted to drugs, have resorted to prostitution, and have serious health issues. About 99% of youth on the streets have some substance abuse problem. They are in constant danger of exploitation, are afraid of authorities, are physically and emotionally wanting and are "self-medicating" to alleviate the stress of this reality. Once addicted, they fall into a downward cycle of having to panhandle or prostitute themselves just to keep up with their drug habit. ATL will contract with existing drug treatment agencies to provide treatment on-site at the facility. If a youth needs more intense residential treatment, ATL will hold their space at the facility, and keep their pet if they have one, for their return. ATL will do everything possible to support a youth in the long and difficult process of recovery.
As part of the intake process, all youth will undergo a health screening as well as a criminal activity screening. The Juvenile Court Judge oversees the criminal screening. Sobriety is mandatory to continue residence, and violent criminal behavior will not be tolerated.
ATL is not a residential drug treatment facility and it must assume that role at times due to the lack of such a facility in the county.
Attendance is by choice. Funding comes primarily from private and federal grants such as the Packard Foundation and Healthy Start. The cities in the county also contribute. The annual budget for ATL is $740,000. County funding is in the form of Aid to Familities with Dependent Children (AFDC) funds when a youth from within the county system is placed in ATL. There is a maximum of six such placements as per agreement with the County Board of Supervisors. The Redevelopment Agency also funds office space at the Emeline Center for the ATL program.
The major problem facing ATL is the lack of coordination and collaboration among county agencies in providing support and services for homeless youth. As a result, there is little or no emergency shelter available in this county for these youths.
COUNTY RESPONSE: The County concurs with the findings of the Grand Jury with the exception of the statement that there is a lack of coordination and collaboration among county agencies in providing support and services for homeless youth.
Rather, we would suggest that providing shelter for homeless youth is much more complex and difficult than it seems on the surface.
The Human Resources Agency (HRA), the Health Services Agency (HSA), Probation and other
county agencies have developed a plan for establishing an in county residential drug treatment
center for adolescents. Although this is not an emergency shelter for homeless youth, it will deal
with much of the same population the Grand Jury is concerned about. These county agencies
will continue to work with Above the Line and other community agencies in providing for this
RECOMMENDATIONS: The Board of Supervisors and the City Councils of Santa Cruz, Watsonville, Capitola and Scotts Valley evaluate and identify the resources needed to create emergency shelter for homeless youth.
COUNTY RESPONSE: The original goal of ATL was to provide an emergency shelter for homeless youth. However, after ATL looked at the liability, the costs and the complexities of providing for this population, they determined they would serve only transitional homeless youth who were ready to make a change. This is not necessarily the emergency shelter population. There is a lack of local resources to serve homeless youth, and the State and Federal Government has not make the funds available to counties to serve them.
Child Protective Services and Probation have worked closely with ATL in securing a license from the State so ATL can serve the homeless youth (runaways) that come from their systems who may need emergency shelter. As a licensed facility ATL will be able to take both dependents and wards on an emergency basis for placement. These youth are part of the homeless population on the street that we are striving to serve.
Although emergency shelter has not been fully implemented, both of these efforts are actions
taken towards solving this problem. There are also countywide forums where these issues are
being examined. One of these, the Continuum of Care Coordinating Group in their June 1999
application for homeless assistance has identified emergency shelter for youth as a community
need. HSA, HRA, Probation and the Redevelopment Agency will continue to work with the
community, the Board and City Councils in further filling this gap and creating shelter and
housing resources for homeless youth.
FINDINGS: Two years prior to the Federal/State welfare reform legislation, the Agency began conducting self-sufficiency workshops providing support systems to gain employment such as resume writing and interview training. There is flexibility in CalWorks by providing mini grants for specific needs such as fees for licenses and car repairs.
One Stop Centers have been established offering a variety of HRA services at one location. Currently, there are three One Stop Centers in the county.
If a client qualifies for the Immediate Needs Program, a motel/hotel voucher can be issued in the amount of $200. This is a one-time benefit and is not part of any grant issued later. Homeless assistance can provide up to 16 days in a motel. A joint check is issued in the names of both the client and the motel. Food stamps can also be expedited.
Families in Transition is a private non-profit corporation which, in partnership with HRA, provides transitional housing to CalWorks' clients who commit to stay clean and sober. HRA provides two social workers.
As a result of a Packard Grant, a mobile center was established in the San Lorenzo Valley. HRA provides social workers half days at the Valley Resource Center. Single males (without dependents) are eligible for food stamps and emergency shelter. When clients are difficult to employ, a federal waiver can allow deferment of employment search and an extension of food stamps.
HRA provides an eligibility worker on the Cabrillo College campus to assist the Fast Track to Work program. The program staff provides assistance in accelerating course work so clients can become job qualified within the two-year period.
COUNTY RESPONSE: The County partially disagrees with the findings of this report which describes the Immediate need and the Homeless Assistance program. Descriptions of these two programs should read as follows:
If the client qualifies for the Immediate Need program, a check can be issued for up to $200.
This $200 will be deducted from the family's regular aid payment once aid is approved.
Additionally, the participant may qualify for Homeless Assistance, a one time benefit that pays
a flat rate of $40 per day, for up to 16 days. For this program a joint check is issued in the
names of both the client and the motel. Foods stamp benefits for homeless families can also be
RECOMMENDATION: Expedite the plan reducing the current use of paper documents to the use of an electronic benefits card.
COUNTY RESPONSE: Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) replaces food coupons and paper
warrants with a debit card to provide on-line access to welfare benefits. Point-of-sale terminals
located at retailers and ATMs will provide access to benefits for recipients. Recently, the
statewide EBT project has experienced a series of unanticipated delays to the procurement
process and now expects to begin the pilot phase by December 2000, and Santa Cruz County is
scheduled to begin full implementation by February 2003.
RECOMMENDATION: Expand the successful collaborative outreach programs.
COUNTY RESPONSE: The County is expanding the collaborative outreach program as summarized below:
The Human Resources Agency has developed Crossover case management protocols for CalWORKs families who are also working with Child Protective Services and the Family Preservation Program.
HRA is an active member of the Regional Literacy collaborative, which works to coordinate and enhance literacy instruction services in the tri-county area. Santa Cruz County collaborative members include Cabrillo College, local Adult Education programs, the Volunteer Center and the Watsonville Library.
HRA, in collaboration with Cabrillo College, has also established the Ladders Project, which works with the Coalition for Workforce Preparation to identify and develop career paths which will enable CalWORKs participants and other low income parents to identify and pursue employment opportunities that pay a family supporting wage.
HRA is currently collaborating with the Housing Authority of Santa Cruz and Families in Transition to expand subsidized housing options for CalWORKs participants. A grant application has been submitted to acquire Section 8 Housing Vouchers for working CalWORKs and former CalWORKs families. Additionally, the program will include a landlord outreach and case management support components.
HRA is the fiscal agent for a two year grant for the Answers Benefitting Children (ABC) program, which is a collaborative initiative to provide family support home visiting services to families with young children and child abuse treatment services for children aged. Services are anchored in a Family Resource Center being developed in Watsonville.
Medi-Cal outreach to uninsured families with children has been expanded through funding from the David and Lucile Packard Foundation and the California Department of Health Services. Outreach efforts are directed and delivered through the efforts of the Santa Cruz County Outreach Coalition which is comprised of HRA, the Health Services Agency (HSA), the County Office of Education, community based service organizations and local medical clinics and hospitals.
Over the past several months HRA has worked collaboratively with the Health Services Agency
to enhance and develop substance abuse and mental health intervention services for CalWORKs
participants who need treatment in order to become employed.
RECOMMENDATION: Create more extensive support for the Families in Transition programs.
COUNTY RESPONSE: HRA has expanded their collaboration with the Families in Transition
program by providing Community Program funds for an additional FIT Social Worker and
providing office space and equipment for program staff working with CalWORKs participants.
Additionally FIT program social workers activity participate in cross over activities and are
involved with the HRA - Housing Authority project described above.
RECOMMENDATION: Continue to maintain statistics on program performance.
COUNTY RESPONSE: The HRA CalWORKs and CareerWorks programs have continued to maintain statistics on program activity including the number of participants entering employment, average placement wage, and employment wage gains 30, 60 and 90 days after placement. Additionally, CalWORKs data continues to be available on caseload changes, application trends and the reason for cash aid discontinuance. Finally, the newly re-structured CareerWorks division is in the process of developing and refining outcome measures that will address and measure the broader divisions goals of employment and economic prosperity, family well-being, and the development of effective community partnerships.
During the past year, the program has provided over 100,000 meals and 45,000 nights of shelter. Over 300 persons have found some form of employment utilizing program services. The Interfaith Satellite Shelter Program provides shelter for the night in over 40 churches in the county for families with children and married couples. Fifty-six beds are provided until May 1.
From November 15 to March 30, the National Guard Armory provides additional shelter for single adults. The cost for rent and cleaning of the Armory is $500 per night. Security guard service is provided until 11:00 PM at an additional cost to the program. The National Guard provides additional presence on site and also runs a commissary for sodas and snacks. Only one set of the bathrooms has showers so male and female clients use them on alternate nights. Bedding and mattresses are provided by the program. The use of the Armory as an emergency shelter is intended only as a temporary location. Some families, using their AFDC and SSI funds, opt to stay at motels in the Beach Flats area which are less expensive in winter, until their allotment is depleted.
An average of 300 meals a day (100 breakfasts, 200 dinners) are provided. Currently, the cooking is done in a catering van. However, the City of Santa Cruz will provide a certified kitchen on site by the end of 1999. Families with children are seated first. There is no time limit to the use of these food services. Food costs are about $28,000 per year with donations providing $2.00 worth of food for every $1.00 actually spent. The Food Bank, local restaurants and bakeries donate bread, produce and excess food on an ongoing basis. Volunteer serving help is provided by shelter clients. They have had no problems with food poisoning or hepatitis.
Clients are transported to the shelters in two vans owned by the program, starting with families with children at 4:30PM. They are hoping to secure a used bus from the Santa Cruz Metropolitan Transit District (SCMTD). The small size of the existing vans necessitates starting very early to vacate the Armory by the required time of 7:00 AM. Clients are screened for intoxication and weapons possession prior to boarding the bus. Authorities are called to resolve problems approximately once every two weeks. When the campground was operating, the police were called several times a night.
Food and shelter services are utilized by locals and transients on a 50/50 ratio.
The Homeless Community Resource Center, at the same location provides a case management approach clients to receive assistance in their search for employment.
A building providing showers, toilets, laundry facilities, television sets, children's toys, and vending machines is located on site. Lockers can be rented for a monthly cost of $5.00. A night watchman provides security.
Public health nurses perform weekly medical screenings as requested and referrals are then made for substance abuse and mental and physical health as needed.
Phones are available for client use providing a message system and a mailing address. Resumé preparation and computer use are also provided. Three full-time counselors are on site. The first year in the case management mode, 280 clients were assisted in obtaining employment. Over 800 clients use the mailing address.
The Page Smith Community House, recently opened, provides a structured transitional living program. A maximum of 40 single adults live in eight buildings for six to 18 months. One of the units is suitable for handicapped use. They must have some form of income as the program requires they pay a third of that income for rent. They must remain clean and sober and undergo regular drug testing. Failure to pass results in expulsion from the program. Mandatory meetings are held twice a week. They cook and food shop for themselves. Case management, job development and professional counseling are provided. Habitat for Humanity has constructed an outdoor deck for leisure activities and the units are attractively landscaped. In the first six months of operation, ten clients graduated from the program. Over 200 applicants are on the waiting list. Two full-time case managers, one full-time program director and one half-time activities director are on site.
Emergency services are sufficient for current need. More transitional services are needed. A separate, year-round, 24-hour facility for families with children is needed.
COUNTY RESPONSE: The County would like to clarify some information in the background and findings sections of the report.
The County disagrees with the statement in the background section that states that County agencies provide only staff assistance to the Homeless Services Center but little money. The staff assistance provided by the County has provided critical support that has made it possible for the Homeless Service Center to receive the Federal and State grant funding that constitutes the majority of the Center's funding. The County regularly applies for Federal and State funding on behalf of the Interfaith Satellite Shelter Program, resulting this year in grant awards of more than $273,000 for staff, transportation and winter shelter facilities. Human Resources Agency staff also prepares and coordinates other Federal funding applications which have provided more than $950,000 of funding for both the Emergency Intake and Referral project and the Page Smith Community House. The required matching funds for the Emergency Intake and Referral project grant funding are also provided by the Health Services Agency. More important than the actual funding, the County's assistance has supported the Homeless Service Center as the Center has developed the capacity to seek Federal and State grant funding themselves in the future.
The County's direct financial assistance to the Homeless Service Center has also been directed toward increasing the capacity of the organization and toward supporting efforts to address root causes of homelessness. The property where the Service Center is located was purchased with financing by the County and is now under a lease/purchase agreement with the City of Santa Cruz. The Homeless Service Center has also received Community Programs funding through the Human Resources Agency for a number of years. In fiscal year 99/00, the annual funding level was increased by 100% to $52,434, targeted for additional case management services to move individuals and families out of homelessness. In addition, the Board of Supervisors has allocated $10,000 this year to assist in the costs of renovations to the Homeless Service Center that will ultimately result in additional space to provide respite and special services to families with children.
The statistics in the findings about the number of nights of shelter provided are estimates from the previous year. The Homeless Service Center currently provides 33,422 nights of shelter. In addition, the majority of homeless persons sheltered are single individuals.
The findings also indicate that food and shelter services are used "by locals and transients on a
50/50 ratio." The Homeless Service Center feels that given the emergency nature of the services
provided, it is very difficult to determine homeless persons' origins. The estimates of homeless
persons' origins quoted in the findings also represent a point in time and thus do not represent
a complete picture of homeless persons' characteristics. There are no other current surveys or
assessments of the number, characteristics, or needs of homeless persons. The United Way
Community Assessment Project Homeless Subcommittee is coordinating efforts to attempt to
secure grant funds to conduct a county-wide survey and needs assessment of homeless persons.
RECOMMENDATION: Create a county-wide task force to provide a separate facility for families with children.
COUNTY RESPONSE: Two existing groups have been convened to address homeless issues.
The Continuum of Care Coordinating Group has discussed services and shelter for families with
children as a part of its community-wide planning process. Year-round 24 hour shelter for
families with children has been identified as a high priority gap in the provision of emergency
shelter. The main funding source accessed by the Continuum of Care Coordinating Group,
however, does not fund emergency shelters. The Coordinating Group is currently working on
increasing funding resources for all homeless services through collaboration with the Bay Area
Regional Initiative. In addition, the United Way Community Assessment Project has recently
formed a Homeless Issues Subcommittee which includes representatives from all of the
jurisdictions in the County and a number of homeless service providers.
RECOMMENDATION: Increase availability of the transitional services that move homeless into the mainstream.
COUNTY RESPONSE: This recommendation is being implemented through the existing
Emergency Intake and Assessment project which provides a centralized point of entry into
services provided by the Homeless Service Center, Homeless Persons Health Project and the
Human Resources Agency as well as the other service and housing providers. This project links
homeless persons to alcohol and drug treatment programs, mental health services, employment
counseling, job training and educational opportunities, voice mail, and intensive case
management services, in addition to basic food, shelter and hygiene assistance. The increase in
County funding to the Homeless Service Center this year was specifically targeted toward
increasing transitional and case management services in recognition of the importance of these
services in permanently resolving homelessness.
RECOMMENDATION: SCMTD provide a bus and driver for the Homeless Shelter as needed.
COUNTY RESPONSE: This recommendation has been implemented. The SCMTD has
provided a surplus bus to the Homeless Service Center at minimal cost ($2,600). The bus is in
very good condition and was inspected by both SCMTD and City of Santa Cruz mechanics
before it was offered to the Homeless Service Center. The Center is currently evaluating the
most appropriate way to provide a driver for the bus.
RECOMMENDATION: Locate a permanent emergency shelter as an alternative to the expensive use of the National Guard Armory.
COUNTY RESPONSE: Governor Davis has authorized use of the Santa Cruz National Guard Armory as emergency shelter for the 1999-2000 winter and has budgeted funds to cover the costs of 100 nights of emergency shelter use. In addition, a bill pending in the legislature (AB612) would authorize use of the armories indefinitely and will provide additional funds for emergency shelter. Finally, the County of Santa Cruz was successful in obtaining $14,624 of Emergency Shelter Grant funding for winter shelter facilities' costs. The remaining winter shelter facilities' costs including security, cleaning and additional armory nights to cover the period between November 15 and March 31 will be funded by local jurisdictions through a cost-share plan that distributes the costs to all of the cities and the County.
The Winter Shelter Advisory Committee, which was formed to look at alternatives to the
armory, has analyzed the feasibility of creating a permanent emergency shelter. There was a
consensus on the Committee that use of the armories for emergency shelter is not the ideal long
term solution for the homeless population or the community. Permanent year-round shelter
facilities would allow better integration of clients into supportive services, and enable
communities to better address the special needs of children and their families, the disabled, and
the more than 30% of shelter clients who are working. However, local jurisdictions do not have
the resources to replace the armories with permanent shelter facilities, especially in communities
like Santa Cruz where the cost of land and facilities is high. Unfortunately legislation to
authorize State funding to help communities with a portion of the costs for permanent shelters
was vetoed by former Governor Wilson. It is unclear whether new legislation on this issue will