Local Santa Cruz Community Resources

Aside from being situated in one of the most beautiful regions in California, the University of California Santa Cruz is surrounded by a lively small town community with various community resources. Below is a list of organizations with a vested interest in the community of Santa Cruz offering a wide arrray of support and resources.To find out more on community organizations click on the title.

Barrios Unidos

The focus of Barrios Unidos has been on building an organizational base to support the peace movement rather than simply building an agency. The long-term vision of Barrios Unidos’ founders is to establish an Institute for peace and community development that is focused on supporting an organized peace movement and community development effort in Santa Cruz, California and eventually across the United States.  

The Walnut Avenue Women’s Center

The Walnut Avenue Women’s Center is a 501(c)3 public benefit organization dedicated to improving the quality of life for women, children, and families in the local community for over 75 years. Through interactive, supportive programs, WAWC seeks to improve the economic, physical, and emotional well being of all families in Santa Cruz County. 

Community Bridges

Community Bridges is commited to strengthening our diverse community through innovative human services. Since 1977, Community Bridges been weaving the safety net for Santa Cruz County and beyond, helping make our community stronger, healthier, and more vibrant. We reach over 27,000 Santa Cruz area residents each year! That’s one out of every ten people, maybe someone on your block or in your family. Our Family of Programs not only meets the needs of local children, families, and seniors, but with over 27,000 participants each year, we are also able to anticipate emerging needs and find collaborative solutions to issues such as closing the academic achievement gap, supporting seniors to live with independence and dignity, preventing child abuse through parent support and education, and increasing access to medical care. 

The Human Services Department

The Human Services Department offers a wide range of programs and services to the Santa Cruz County community. The department provides safety net services to meet the basic needs of individuals and families, ensures the protection of children, the elderly, and dependent adults, and provides job search assistance and job training opportunities to help job seekers become self sufficient. 

Santa Cruz County

The Santa Cruz County Home page provides all types of departments. The Santa Cruz County page provides resources and information that can point you to the right direction where to go. It is a more general site, that links you to the department where you need help or assistance in.

Community Connection

Community Connection is a nonprofit mental health program of the Volunteer Center of Santa Cruz County that serves adults and families referred through the Santa Cruz County Mental Health System of Care. Our mission is "to assist and support adults with psychiatric disabilities and their families in achieving greater independence and improving the quality of their lives."  We believe that each person that walks through our doors has a gift. Our job is to support them in discovering those gifts and reaching their full potential. Participants have access to a variety of person-centered, strength based programs that provide pre-employment, employment, education, community integration and peer support services for individuals and families. Our programs offer tools and guidance in maintaining mental health wellness, sobriety and healthy lifestyle choices while connecting with their community.

Santa Cruz Volunteer Center: Be the Difference

The Volunteer Center is your source for the latest news, information, and tools to empower you to “Be the Difference” in Santa Cruz County. Whether you are looking for new ways to volunteer, in need of volunteers to support your cause, or just interested in learning about what is going on in our community…the Volunteer Center is your partner in building a better community.

The Boys & Girls Club

The Boys & Girls Club of Santa Cruz promotes youth guidance through educational, vocational, recreational, social and character development of girls and boys ages 6 to 18. The Club is the only youth service organization in the greater Santa Cruz area providing daily afterschool drop-in programs five days a week. We also offer a summer day camp program five days a week from mid-June through mid-August. Members come to the Club looking for fun and a sense of belonging. Our youth meet new friends and learn to develop skills benefiting them over a lifetime. The Boys & Girls Club has a core of career professionals trained to provide leadership and guidance through individual assistance, small group, and drop-in activities. 

Encompass Community Services

Encompass Community Services (formerly Santa Cruz Community Counseling Center), a California 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation, has been serving Santa Cruz County since 1973. Our mission is “building on the strength of people working together to create healthy change in their lives and community. We deliver quality human services guided by the values of diversity, partnership, and the power of workplace democracy.” This year we served over 7,500 Santa Cruz residents with culturally-sensitive, bilingual services. We do this through our four service components: Child and Family Development Programs, Youth Services, Community Recovery Services, and Community Support Service. 

California Rural Legal Assistance

Serves very low income residents of Santa Cruz County with civil legal needs such as landlord/tenant matters, issues involving fair housing, wage and hour claims, public education issues, and public benefit denials and overpayments (Social Security, TANF, MediCal, MediCruz, In Home Support Services, etc.) 

Santa Cruz Immigration Project

Helps immigrants acquire legal status, by re-uniting immigrant families, and by making U. S. citizenship more accessible to eligible immigrants. We provide competent and professional legal services, advocacy, and community education and information. 

Child Development Resource Center

Provides information on childcare services for families and providers. 

Santa Cruz Shelter

The Homeless Services Center is dedicated to the coordinated provision of services for homeless persons. The goal of the Homeless Services Center is to provide both emergency and transitional services to homeless individuals and families that will enable our clients to achieve self-sufficiency.

The Davenport Resource Service Center

The Davenport Resource Service Center serves as an advocate and resource for the area’s culturally diverse and low-income population. Through emergency and prevention services, the Center attempts to strengthen the capacity of North Coast residents of all ages to find support in, contribute to, and thrive in their community. 

Diversity Center of Santa Cruz

Information & Referrals about: LGBT, HIV/AIDS, legal issues, mental health & substance abuse resources, personal care, media, medical resources, domestic violence, and more. 

Family Service Agency of the Central Coast

Family Service Agency of the Central Coast believes in the power and potential of people of all ages and backgrounds to discover their own creative solutions. Our professional staff and volunteers provide the resources, support, and counseling services essential to healthy families and communities. Since 1957 we have been providing counseling, suicide prevention, and supportive services to those in Monterey, Santa Cruz, and San Benito Counties. We welcome people of diverse cultures, genders, sexual orientations, ages, faiths, socio-economic backgrounds, and abilities as clients, volunteers, and staff members. 

Santa Cruz Neighbors

Santa Cruz Neighbors is a city-wide 501(c)3 nonprofit organization representing a network of neighborhoods which partners with educational institutions, local government, local businesses, and non-profits dedicated to a community oriented government and provides a neighborhood voice for the residents of Santa Cruz. 

- If there are any additional local Santa Cruz resources you know of that you would like for us to feature on this page, contact us at elcentro@ucsc.edu.