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Public Health in Housing Day

Santa Cruz County has one of the least affordable housing markets in the country. To save on housing costs, low-income families (and some higher-income families, too) live together in crowded conditions. When COVID-19 arrived, those crowded conditions became a distinct health hazard, especially for multi-generational families that included essential workers in the agriculture, transportation, and health industries.

The Health Services Agency (HSA), Human Services Department (HSD), and other partners quickly realized these overcrowded conditions would amplify the risk of transmission to individuals and the community at large. They worked with the owners of suddenly empty hotels to secure these spaces for those who were diagnosed with or exposed to COVID-19, but who could not safely isolate or quarantine at home.

In early August, a hotel in Watsonville will have space for dozens of people who are living in overcrowded conditions or who have possible exposure to COVID-19 and need to isolate and quarantine safely. The Safety Net clinics, along with hospitals and the health department, can help identify patients who need this space – helping to keep residents, health care providers, and their families and colleagues safe.


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