Why We Do It
Homelessness and joblessness go hand in hand. Lack of job skills, recent work history, social support network and low self esteem all make the transition out of homelessness more difficult. The integrated approach of the Homeless Garden Project's programs addresses all of these needs.
Homelessness in Santa Cruz
- 30% of respondents in the 2009 Homeless Census and Survey cited job loss as the primary reason for their current episode of homelessness.
- 16% of survey respondents reported that their alcohol or drug issue was the primary reason for their homelessness.
- A landlord’s sale or re‐use of the rental property where they were living (9%).
- Arguments with family or friends causing being asked to leave their residence (8.5%)
- Mental health issues (4.8%) or illness or medical problem (4.5%)
- The information above and in the sidebar is taken from the 2009 Santa Cruz County Homeless Census and Survey available here: http://www.appliedsurveyresearch.org/projects/homeless2009.html#scruz.
- The study revealed a diverse population with many different needs.
Overall, living in poverty puts people at risk for being an illness, an accident, or a paycheck away from living on the streets.
Why your CSA goes so much farther than just good vegetables
Community Supported Agriculture programs improve on traditional marketing models by forming a direct relationship between the farmer and consumer. Community members purchase a “share” of the farm in the Spring, then every week during the growing season they pick up their portion of the harvest. At our farm, the shareholder’s commitment allows us to grow with confidence, knowing that our crops have been purchased by someone who cares about the community. A quarter of our income each year comes from CSA purchases and from sales at our store, From Our Garden. This revenue directly supports HGP’s training and employment programs by helping those in need achieve a stable productive place in society.
How do communities generally address homelessness?
It is generally thought that shelter placement is the most inexpensive way to meet the basic needs of people experiencing homelessness. However research indicates that the cost of homelessness can be quite high. Hospitalization, medical treatment, incarceration, police intervention, and emergency shelter expenses can add up quickly, making homelessness surprisingly expensive for municipalities and taxpayers.
Studies have shown that providing people experiencing chronic homelessness with supportive services coupled with permanent housing saves taxpayers money.
- A study from Los Angeles, CA – home to ten percent of the entire homeless population – found that placing four chronically homeless people into permanent supportive housing saved the city more than $80,000 per year.
- For more information about homelessness from a national perspective, go to http://www.endhomelessness.org/section/about_homelessness
- To read more about vulnerable populations, we recommend
The Robert Wood Johnson
Foundation's Vulnerable Populations news digest : http://www.rwjf.org/vulnerablepopulations/digestlist.jsp