Director's Message

As Director of the Human Services Department, I consider myself fortunate to live and work in a community that places a high value on collaboration and believes in working together to strengthen families and lift people out of poverty. Here at the Human Services Department, our dedicated staff is passionate about the work they do and, together with our community partners, we work to help those in need move beyond difficult times.

The mission of the Human Services Department is to support and strengthen individuals and families by assuring safety, promoting self-sufficiency, eliminating poverty and improving the quality of life in our community. In these difficult economic times, our community has been hard hit by the failing economy and rising unemployment is forcing many more individuals and families into poverty. Now more than ever, the safety net services we provide are critically important to ensure that the basic needs of Santa Cruz County residents are met. We are here for a parent who has lost a job, or for a family member facing a catastrophic illness; we are here for the homeless in search of affordable housing; we are here for children who are hungry and for children who are at risk of abuse; we are here for the disabled and the elderly in need of support or at risk of abuse; and we are here for the laid off workers of the local plant forced to shut down. We serve with compassion, we respect human dignity, and we value diversity.

In collaboration with our community partners, we develop innovative strategies to better serve our community. Working with non-profit agencies, schools, local businesses and other public agencies we offer resources for career advancement and employment training for job seekers; we coordinate services for children and families, we support systems of care for elderly and dependent adults; and we promote outreach strategies to improve access to health care and other services. As a department we are fortunate to have community partners who value collaboration and who understand that by pooling resources we can make a greater difference in the lives of those we serve. Together we provide a network of support to lift individuals and families out of poverty and build healthier communities.

My pledge to the residents of Santa Cruz County is that our staff will be unwavering in their commitment to provide quality services to all who seek assistance; and our department, in partnership with a caring community, will continue to work to end poverty, hunger and homelessness in our county.

Ellen Timberlake, Director

Human Services Department