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Santa Cruz asks ‘What about housing matters to you’ in public forum

Posted by Yijy8kNUMO on June 27, 2017

SANTA CRUZ >> Seeking effective ways to address the “local housing crisis,” Santa Cruz city leaders are inviting fresh perspectives on a pervasive problem.

At 7 p.m. on Tuesday at the Santa Cruz Civic Auditorium, the Santa Cruz City Council will turn over half of its agenda to a special study session toward engaging community discussion on local housing issues. Addressing housing is among the council’s top three strategic priorities in the coming two years, and Tuesday’s discussion will launch a six-month citywide process to come up with new solutions.

Assistant City Manager Tina Shull said the meeting will be recorded but not streamed live and the council will not receive public emails typically piped to their iPads by the city clerk in the midst of their meetings. Community members looking to shape the council and city staff’s efforts going forward are urged to speak to the issue in person, she said.

Shull said she expects the meeting to offer something of a release for the public.

“Whatever the voice is, whatever the perspective, it has value, it needs to be heard, it needs to have a place at the table,” Shull said. “There’s so much energy around this. The letters, the communication, people’s anxiety, people’s concern about the future or current situation. There needs to be an outlet for that and an opportunity (for city leaders) to really hear deeply and just listen and not try to judge or do anything with it at this point.”

Mayor Cynthia Chase said the city has to do a better job of reaching out to parts of the community — such a millennials and non-English speakers — whose voices are often not represented in ongoing housing solution discussions. Tuesday’s study session and ongoing public engagement efforts will be asking “What have we not done before” and “How can we do this,” Chase said. The council meeting is the last before the body takes the month of July off.

“We need more time. We need to focus on that,” Chase said of housing supply issues. “This is to get the momentum going for the next six months.”

Source: Santa Cruz Sentinel, June 26, 2017

Author: Jessica A. York

Photo Credit: Dan Coyro

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