Social Services

Tents and belongings along the banks of the San Lorenzo River, a popular location for Santa Cruz’s homeless to find shelter. (Daniel Wu / Peninsula Press)

Coronavirus and winter make it harder to solve Santa Cruz’s homelessness problems

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One day in March, Jeffrey Jerozal got caught in a rainstorm. The sudden coronavirus lockdown put Santa Cruz’s businesses and residents on edge, and wherever Jerozal tried to take temporary shelter, he was met with hostility. A scuffle ensued, the police came, and the homeless man was taken to a hospital, wet and shivering. “It’s a damned state to get hypothermia in Santa Cruz,” he said. Experiences like Jerozal’s are common in a beach town that promotes its legacy of tolerance — “Keep Santa Cruz Weird” is the slogan on T-shirts — but hasn’t been able to solve a persistent problem with homelessness. As city officials, nonprofits and activists struggle…

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Facing Budget Cuts, Kansas City Police Department May End Social Worker Program

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KANSAS CITY, MO — The Kansas City Police Department’s Social Services Program, which stations a social worker at all six patrol divisions across the city, faces possible discontinuation as the department adjusts to a $26 million budget cut for fiscal year 2021-22. The decision to cut the program comes as social workers have been in the national spotlight recently, with calls to reform police departments and invest in community programs that focus on jobs, affordable housing, and mental health services for underserved populations. Sgt. Jake Becchina, a public information officer and member of the KCPD for 17 years, said the department faces decisions about where to pare down resources as…

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