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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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!
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.
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.Read more