Santa Cruz homelessness
Local, state and federal officials gather in front of Santa Cruz City Hall Friday at the start of a tour of area homeless encampments. — Tarmo Hannula/The Pajaronian

Leaders from the federal, state and local levels teamed up Friday to tour homeless camps in Santa Cruz in hopes of getting a better grasp of homelessness and to develop a plan to deal with the crisis.

The two dozen officials, including Congressman Jimmy Panetta, State Assemblyman Mark Stone, Santa Cruz Fire Chief Jason Hajduk, Santa Cruz Mayor Justin Cummings and Santa Cruz Police Chief Andy Mills, met in the courtyard of City Hall before hitting the road in a caravan to tour several homeless campsites. Officials are hoping to find an alternative to closing one camp after another and simply shuffling homeless residents to the next site.

“We’re here today to help provide a first-hand look at the challenges that we are facing and the service we are providing, and to discuss some of the services that are being provided,” Cummings said.

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Tarmo Hannula has been the lead photographer with The Pajaronian newspaper in Watsonville since 1997. More recently Good Times & Press Banner. He also reports on a wide range of topics, including police, fire, environment, schools, the arts and events. A fifth generation Californian, Tarmo was born in the Mother Lode of the Sierra (Columbia) and has lived in Santa Cruz County since the late 1970s. He earned a BA from UC Santa Cruz and has traveled to 33 countries.


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