Meet Our Downtown Outreach Team!
Did you know that Encompass Community Services has a Downtown Outreach program? This mission-driven team works to develop trust and respectful relationships with adults experiencing homelessness, substance use disorder, and/or mental illness in the Santa Cruz downtown corridor to help link individuals with crisis support and other services that improve their quality of life.
Treating every individual with dignity and respect is at the heart of what we do at Encompass. The Downtown Outreach team brings this mantra to life by connecting individuals with appropriate supportive services that reduce the risk of psychiatric hospitalizations and incarceration, and address a variety of housing, health care, substance use disorder, and mental health-related needs – all while honoring each person’s right of choice. Read on to learn more about this incredible team and how you can help those who need support connect with our services.
Celebrating Our Head Start / Early Head Start Programs' Perfect Audit!
We aren't usually ones to toot our own horn, but we need to take a minute to share some BIG news! Our Head Start and Early Head Start programs received a PERFECT report on the biggest audit of our 5-year grant period. This is a rare accomplishment even in the best of times and is a monumental feat given the unexpected challenges our programs have faced throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.
This achievement is reflective of so much hard work and diligence from our teams and from programs and departments across the agency who have supported their work – from the admin team to other Encompass programs that Head Start and Early Head Start referred families to for additional support.
Black History Month: A Reflection on Head Start History
Did you know that Head Start’s history is deeply intertwined with the Civil Rights Movement? Check out National Head Start Association’s article this month to learn more about how determined community leaders, many of them Civil Rights advocates ready to challenge the status quo, worked to build Head Start into the life-changing force we know. Additionally, in honor of Black History Month, children in Head Start classrooms across the country (including ours across Santa Cruz County) learn about and celebrate the impact of Black leaders.
Black Health Matters Initiative Spotlight
In 2020, Santa Cruz County declared racism a public health crisis in our county and proceeded with urgency to address inequities impacting the marginalized populations in our community. Since 2020, United Way of Santa Cruz County and the Santa Cruz County Black Health Matters Initiative (SCCBHMI) have worked to increase visibility of the social determinants of health impacting the Black/African American community in Santa Cruz County.
We’re honored to highlight their Santa Cruz County Black Health Matters Initiative Spotlight 2021.
Introducing the new Sí Se Puede Behavioral Health Center!
We have begun work on an exciting new project that will help us further address health disparities in our community! Encompass is building a new, state-of-the-art Sí Se Puede behavioral health center in Watsonville that will expand our capacity to deliver high quality, accessible and personalized substance use and mental health treatment services by 30% to serve more than 1,300 community members every year.
Taking a Closer Look at Our Adult Outpatient Substance Use Services
As we continue to celebrate National Recovery Month throughout September, we’re taking a closer look at the various programs we offer to support our community members’ path to better health.
Upon hearing the words “substance use treatment,” many people immediately picture residential services. While residential treatment programs are an important part of the recovery journey for many, they are just one of many approaches available to individuals seeking support. Outpatient behavioral health services are also a powerful piece of the recovery puzzle, especially considering that substance use disorder is a chronic disease; just like diabetes or hypertension, it requires ongoing care and support from medical and behavioral health experts. Outpatient behavioral health treatment can provide ongoing prevention, early intervention, and recovery support in a frequency and format that works best for the individual – whether it’s through group, family, or one-on-one counseling sessions.
Through our Integrated Behavioral Health Adult Outpatient programs at Alto Counseling Centers, Encompass partners with a constellation of County, community, and healthcare partners to create a personalized continuum of care that supports each individual’s long-term health and well-being. We provide an array of services, including substance use counseling (free to Medi-Cal members and available to clients who are undocumented and non-Medi-Cal members) and mental health counseling for sliding scale fees dependent upon income.
Honoring National Recovery Month: Sí Se Puede!
Did you know that September is National Recovery Month? This observance is held every year to promote and support new evidence-based treatment and recovery practices, the emergence of a strong and proud recovery community, and the dedication of service providers and community members across the nation who make recovery in all its forms possible.
At Encompass Community Services, we are honored to be a part of our community members' path to better health. Through our whole-person-centered approach to care, we provide tools, resources, and varying levels of care – from residential and outpatient substance use disorder and medicated-assisted treatment to mental health counseling – to meet each individual where they are in their recovery journey, all in an atmosphere of dignity and respect where they can thrive. Throughout the month, we'll be spotlighting several Encompass programs to provide a fuller picture of the range of services we offer. We hope you'll return to learn more!
In this post, we're taking a closer look at one of our longest-running residential programs — Sí Se Puede. Located in the serene foothills of Watsonville, CA, Sí Se Puede is one of the only bilingual and monolingual treatment environments in the nation. The 23-bed residential program was developed and is led by Latino males with lived experience and intentionally prioritizes culturally aware programming that integrates evidence-based practices with the values of the communities we serve.
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.
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.
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.