She waited four years for affordable housing — and a new lease on life

Annette Rodrigo’s story shows how a network of shelters, case managers and housing providers can eventually come together to move some of the thousands of people experiencing homelessness in Santa Clara County off the streets— if they can make it through all the obstacles, and the waiting, to get there — and how much of a difference having a roof can make.

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

Santa Cruz, a beach town that promotes a legacy of tolerance — “Keep Santa Cruz Weird” is the slogan on T-shirts — hasn’t been able to solve a persistent problem with homelessness. As city officials, nonprofits and activists struggle for answers, the onset of winter poses even more threat to those who find shelter in the open. Looming over everything this year is a resurgent coronavirus.