PRESS RELEASE: New Housing Data Confirms Lack of Affordability in Santa Cruz County Housing Supply


Media Contacts:
Don Lane, Housing Santa Cruz County
Christina Gotuaco, California Housing Partnership

Santa Cruz Housing Needs Report coverMay 18, 2021 (Santa Cruz, CA) – In the midst of the events and activities of Affordable Housing Month — designed to explore opportunities and solutions for our Santa Cruz County housing challenges — new data demonstrates that high housing costs continue to plague thousands of local residents. A new report from the California Housing Partnership shows ever-increasing Santa Cruz County costs are continuing to put housing well beyond the reach of many community members. Housing Santa Cruz County is working to make sure that this data mobilizes the community to move quickly to address the affordable housing shortage, given the detailed picture of our county’s struggles within the context of the state’s housing needs and challenges. 

Main key findings: 

  • Renters in Santa Cruz County need to earn $36.71 per hour — 2.6 times the state minimum wage — to afford the average monthly asking rent of $1,909.
  • More than 10,000 low-income renter households in Santa Cruz County do not have access to an affordable home.
  • Federal funding for production and preservation of affordable housing decreased last year in the midst of our housing shortage.

“This report provides hard data to back up what is already commonly believed throughout the community — that thousands of local families, seniors, lower-wage workers and vulnerable individuals are struggling to find decent, affordable places to live in Santa Cruz,” said Don Lane, steering committee member of Housing Santa Cruz County (HSCC). “It’s time for us to work together to fulfill the new California dream: that every resident will have a safe, healthy, affordable place to call home.”

“We urge state leaders to set clear, long-term goals so that the uses of this year’s state budget surplus are framed as down-payments on the sustained investments at scale that our region and state need to meet the four clear goals of California’s Roadmap Home 2030: ending homelessness, closing the affordable housing gap, protecting low-income renters, and advancing racial equity,” said Matt Schwartz, president and CEO of the California Housing Partnership. 

Key local recommendations: 

  • Local jurisdictions must identify many additional sites for affordable rental projects and expedite approval of projects on those sites.
  • Local jurisdictions must work together to create a new local funding source to match with state and federal housing funds so more deed-restricted affordable apartments can be built.
  • Community members must renew our commitment to caring for the well-being of our neighbors by supporting new affordable housing developments in appropriate locations throughout our county.

Join Housing Santa Cruz County and elected local government leaders on May 20th for a conversation about each local jurisdiction’s plans and commitments to creating affordable housing. Our panel will include Board of Supervisors Chair Bruce McPherson, Watsonville Mayor Jimmy Dutra, Santa Cruz Mayor Donna Meyers, Scotts Valley Mayor Derek Timm, and Capitola Vice Mayor Sam Storey. HSCC will invite each panelist to provide details on their community’s work to stem the affordable housing crisis plaguing many individuals and families here and make our county more equitable. After the presentations, there will be time for questions from participants in the community.

Register in advance for this event:

View the Santa Cruz County report.


Housing Santa Cruz County’s mission is to ensure Santa Cruz County is an inclusive, thriving, just, diverse, culturally rich and sustainable community by promoting affordable, safe, stable homes for local residents and workers. HSCC is made up of individuals, nonprofit organizations, businesses, service providers, homelessness organizations and advocates, faith-based organizations, labor leaders, financial institutions, housing professionals, nonprofit and for-profit housing developers and local government officials. Together, our coalition is building the leadership and organizational structure needed to catalyze and align political and community will to create the affordable housing Santa Cruz County needs to grow and thrive. |

The California Housing Partnership creates and preserves affordable and sustainable homes for Californians with low incomes by providing expert financial and policy solutions to nonprofit and public partners. Since 1988, the Partnership’s on-the-ground technical assistance, applied research, and legislative leadership has leveraged $25 billion in private and public financing to preserve and create more than 75,000 affordable homes. In addition, the Partnership provides statewide publications and data tools for housing research and outcomes tracking. |