Project Lead

The Housing and Community Development Division is a core component of the Economic Development Department. We work diligently to address the housing needs of a variety of people who live in the City of Santa Cruz. 

Housing is a major topic for all Californians, and the Housing and Community Development Division is working hard to address the many challenges that our community is facing today. Working families, seniors, veterans, the homeless, students, and everyone in between have unique housing needs and challenges. In order to make ground on the housing crisis being felt across the State, a multifaceted approach of projects and programs is needed. Our team is engaged in a broad range of existing efforts, and always looking and planning for the future needs of housing in Santa Cruz. 

What We Do:

A core part of our work is to create and preserve affordable housing. The City actively works with developers to support the creation of affordable housing projects like the Riverwalk Apartments and the Tannery Artist Lofts. We do this through certain incentives as well as local, state, and federal funding. The City’s Inclusionary Housing Program is also used to designate a certain percentage of a project’s units as affordable. 

Through the Housing Legislative Program, our staff tracks housing related state legislation that would have impact on the City of Santa Cruz. At the direction of council, we work with State Representatives and advocacy groups to support or oppose legislative actions. 

There are several efforts Economic Development staff does on an ongoing basis in order to preserve existing affordable housing. We work with city planning code enforcement and homeowners to rehabilitate affordable units as they age, and administer funds through the Community Development Block Grant Program(CDBG) that supports the equivalent of one Code Compliance Officer who's work focuses on low income areas. When a project is at risk of losing their affordability restrictions we work to encouraging renewal of affordability agreements, or in the case of foreclosures, work to purchase the unit in order to maintain its affordability. Finally, to ensure compliance with all of the affordability restrictions, we have an active monitoring and tracking program.

The following map shows larger (>10 units) affordable housing projects that have been developed through the Housing and Community Development Division's various programs. In addition to the housing shown here, the City has 246 inclusionary units interspersed throughout the community. 

Click the house icons to learn more!


We help homeowners through a variety of programs like My House My Home. In partnership with Habitat for Humanity, this pilot program assists senior homeowners to "age in place" by constructing a new affordable accessory dwelling unit (ADU) and doing minor improvements to the existing home. The program is a part of the City’s Award winning Accessory Dwelling Unit Program which gives homeowners resources to build their own ADU, providing new rental housing within existing neighborhoods. 

Coming soon in 2018, the new Single-family Affordable Solar Housing Program will be paid for through the City's Community Development Block Grant funds and administered by GRID Alternatives Central Coast. The program installs solar systems for low-income homeowners. Community members and job trainees are engaged in the solar installations, providing hands-on experience and job training. 

Building Fron 2
722 Pacheco 3 Adu


To help renters, the City’s Security Deposit Program provides deposit assistance to qualified low income households. The Emergency Rental Assistance Program also can provide up to 2 month’s rental assistance to low income households facing eviction. The City also has funded, along with all other local jurisdictions, the Housing Authority of Santa Cruz County's Section 8 Landlord Incentive Program. Launched in January of 2018, this program aims to support new landlords who wish to provide units to Section 8 voucher holders. it's one of many efforts to help fill the gap of housing units for over 300 local voucher holders without a Section 8 unit. 

Garfield Park Village
Grace Commons
Nuevo Sal
Water St

Measure O - Inclusionary Housing

The City’s Measure O - Inclusionary Housing Ordinance is a an initiative that was approved by the voters in 1979 that requires developers of residential projects to provide a certain percentage of the total number of units as affordable to moderate, low or very-low income households. This requirement may be met by various options, one of which is for the developer to build the units and designate them as either for-sale units or as rental units. All Measure O units remain affordable through a long-term or permanent deed restriction recorded against the property. The City currently has approximately 150 rental units and over 100 ownership units in the program.

Workforce Housing

In order to address the housing needs of everyday workers in Santa Cruz, the City and a group of the City’s largest employers convene on a regular basis to discuss promoting and creating more workforce housing. The Committee is looking to identify potential projects to collaborate on, to develop educational materials around workforce housing, and to explore new approaches to our local workforce housing needs.

Funding Affordable Housing

The need for a new source of funding for affordable housing is critical to address the void left by the loss of state Redevelopment (RDA) housing funds in 2011. The City previously received $2 million annually from RDA for housing. Currently we only have about $300,000 in on-going funding each year from our federal HOME Program grant and our Affordable Housing Trust Fund to use towards projects and programs. Our staff continues to administer Federal grants like the Community Development Block Grant Program (CDBG) and the HOME Investment Partnership Program (HOME), but funding continues to be our biggest hurdle and we’re always looking for new funding sources and grant opportunities. 

Pacific Station

Rendering for the proposed 

Pacific Station Mixed-use Project

Want More Information? 

Housing and Community Development staff are forging ahead to continue to make Santa Cruz a vibrant community with varying types of housing available for our current and future generations. 

Want more information about what we do? 

Click here for more resources and to connect with our staff.

Want to Get Involved? 

The City of Santa Cruz has a variety of ways for the community to get involved and help find ways to address the housing crisis. 

Click here to learn more.


Tourism is a major economic engine in Santa Cruz, and being able to easily navigate is critical to a positive visitor experience. In 2010 the City launched a wayfinding effort to evaluate and improve upon the experience of navigating around Santa Cruz.

Santa Cruz Warriors

In 2012, the Kaiser Permanente Arena was developed as a public-private partnership between the City of Santa Cruz, the Santa Cruz Seaside Company, and the NBA team, the Golden State Warriors.