2018 National Planning Conference

Santa Cruz: Addressing the Housing Crisis

Sunday, April 14, 2019 from 2:45 p.m. - 4 p.m. PDT

CM | 1.25

Activity Type: Educational Sessions

Activity ID: NPC198164

Location: 2014

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  • Learn about a variety of creative methods to obtain meaningful community input from a broad cross-section of the community on difficult, often contentious topics.
  • Understand how planners can identify, prioritize, and implement a range of organic policy solutions to address challenges in a manner that recognizes the unique nature of each community.
  • Hear details of specific actions and policy changes that jurisdictions can implement to address housing and homelessness challenges in their communities.


The city of Santa Cruz is at the epicenter of the U.S. housing and homeless crises. A recent international study found Santa Cruz to be the fourth-least affordable place in the world, behind Hong Kong, Sydney, and Vancouver. Santa Cruz is acutely impacted by a burgeoning homelessness crisis, leading the nation in numbers of unsheltered homeless veterans and youth per capita.

While these challenges are daunting, they are not insurmountable. The city is confronting these issues head on, utilizing a variety of balanced, practical, and measurable approaches. Learn how Santa Cruz closely partnered with our community to address these crises through the development and prioritization of 99 targeted, community-based housing recommendations (http://www.cityofsantacruz.com/home/showdocument?id=64832) and 20 homeless recommendations (http://www.cityofsantacruz.com/home/showdocument?id=59645). Hear about the city’s approach to policy development, with a focus on preserving housing, promoting future housing development, and enhancing community vitality. While there is no silver bullet, presenters discuss policies that work. These include further improving our nationally recognized Accessory Dwelling Unit program; adopting short-term rental regulations that preserve our housing stock; legalizing existing, unpermitted dwelling units; stimulating downtown redevelopment; revising parking standards to incentivize housing; providing density bonuses; and implementing short- and long-term homelessness solutions.

Session Speakers

Frederic L. Butler, AICP
City of Santa Cruz
Santa Cruz, CA

Cynthia Chase
City of Santa Cruz
Santa Cruz, CA

Tina Shull
City of Santa Cruz
Santa Cruz, CA

Sarah A. Fleming, AICP
City of Santa Cruz
Santa Cruz, CA