Addressing Housing Needs in Our Community for Youth and Young Adults

Upon exiting the California Foster Care system, 65% of youth and young adults face an imminent housing need. Housing options for young adults leaving the foster care system are extremely limited in Santa Cruz County. Encompass’s Transition Age Youth (TAY) Programs, which support youth ages 18-24, offer a total of 30 housing slots, through our foster youth Transitional Housing Programs. 

This past year, TAY partnered with the county to help provide an additional 27 temporary trailer spots as part of our COVID-19 Shelter-in-Place emergency response efforts. Through this effort, the State provided our county with travel trailers to support transition age (18-24) individuals experiencing homelessness to shelter in place during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Encompass, the Community Action Board, and the County of Santa Cruz worked together to provide onsite management and programming to support sheltering in place and prevention practices during the COVID-19 emergency. Through these efforts, we have supported youth in finding their way into jobs, school and permanent housing. 

We want to recognize the entire TAY team for turning on a dime to make this project happen for our community. Special thanks to Collin Webb and Kayanu Hoffman for their exceptional on-site case management and to our Program Assistant Annalisa Morris for helping us to manage all of the details along the way. We also want to thank the TAY team for all of the amazing work they have done virtually throughout the pandemic to ensure that every young person that comes to our program knows there is an adult who cares about them and their future.  

TAY Trailer Site at 7th Day Adventist

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Supporting Transition-Age Youth in Santa Cruz County

Did you know that according to the 2019 Santa Cruz County Point-in-Time (PIT) Count, unaccompanied children and transition-age youth under age 25 accounted for 29% of the total homeless population in our county?  

Encompass Community Service’s Transition-Age Youth (TAY) programs aim to change that by increasing the safety, emotional wellbeing and self-sufficiency for high-risk youth who are experiencing homelessness. Through our TAY programs, staff conduct critically needed street outreach to engage youth ages 15-25 into comprehensive services, a path to housing and positive permanent connections.  

In line with Encompass’s mission, the TAY team uses evidence-informed and culturally sensitive strategies that are rooted in person-centered, strength-based and Trauma Informed Care practices. In other words, we treat every client as the expert of their own story with the power to choose their own path as we offer tools and resources to support their journey.

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We've Launched New Mental Health Counseling Services for Youth!

We are pleased to share that through our Youth Services Program, Encompass is now offering low-cost self-pay comprehensive mental health counseling services for ALL Santa Cruz County youth ages 12-20 and their families, regardless of their Medi-Cal status. We are also continuing to provide free substance use disorder (SUD) and prevention counseling for youth ages 12-20 through our programs as well. Anyone interested in accessing these services can call our intake line to learn more at 831-429-8350.

Youth Services Mental Health Counseling

 

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Honoring Juneteenth and Pride Month at Encompass

At Encompass, we are committed to listening deeply, bearing witness, and taking action toward racial and social equity at every level of our organization. We invite you to join us in pausing to reflect and honor two deeply significant celebrations for our black and LGBTQ+ communities - Juneteenth and Pride Month. In this month's newsletter, we share a deeper look at just a few of the initiatives we are driving across our agency to expand our understanding of systemic racism, identify areas of growth, and deepen our engagement in this important work. We also highlight Pride celebrations you can partake in throughout Santa Cruz County! Get the full scoop in our June newsletter here

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Hot Happenings in May

We have a lot to celebrate at Encompass this month! Get the full scoop in our May newsletter here. Learn how our Encompass Payee Services team supports more than 500 community members with their financial needs every year; get a sneak peek at how the new Unite Us online referral system is poised to help community members access the full range of services our county has to offer; hear from our Director of Community Projects about her 30+ years in public service; and welcome new faces to our leadership and program teams! 

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Meet Our New Chief Programs Officer

We are thrilled to announced that long-time community leader and service impact expert Lisa Russell will be joining our executive team as Encompass's new chief programs officer. Lisa comes to Encompass from Janus of Santa Cruz where she worked as director of research and evaluation and, most recently, as interim co-executive director.

Lisa Russell, Encompass Chief Programs Officer

As chief programs officer, Lisa will oversee the operations and direction of Encompass’ more than 40 programs in health and human services related to family and social well-being, early childhood education, behavioral health, housing and more.

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Supporting Moms: Maternal Mental Health Month and Beyond

Did you know that May is Maternal Mental Health Month? To mark the occasion, we want to remind moms (and all parents!) in our community that Encompass Community Services is here to support you. 

Parenthood comes with a full spectrum of daily challenges and emotions, and prioritizing your health is a key part of ensuring your family’s wellbeing. This year, many parents are feeling particularly overwhelmed, anxious or stressed due to the uncertainty brought on by COVID-19. We are here to help! We offer a wide range of counseling and treatment services all year round. Read on for information on how to access these free and low-cost programs.  

Mental health services for moms

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Investing in Fatherhood: Encompass Awarded New Pathways for Fathers and Children Grant

 

Encompass strives to focus its programming on prevention services that will start our youth down a positive path so they never experience poverty, neglect, or trauma. Setting our young ones up for success is the most effective way to strengthen our community, but our children need the support at home, from both mom and dad. Our Papás program promotes father involvement as part of Encompass’s ongoing efforts to reduce the number of people in our community that struggle with homelessness, addiction, and unemployment.

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Santa Cruz County receives $2.2 million homeless youth grant

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County Homeless Action Partnership, with Encompass Community Services as lead, to participate in 
highly competitive multi-year grant from HUD focused on preventing and ending youth homelessness 
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The drive to volunteer

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By Dennis Patton
Manager, Santa Cruz Residential Recovery 

Jason Harris wanted to serve Santa Cruz Residential Recovery (SCRR) at Encompass simply because he wanted to give back and stay busy. But when he began serving SCRR as a transportation volunteer, he quickly fell in love with the work as he discovered that his service helps people get their life back.

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