People who’ve fallen on hard times can use the internet to connect to health and other services, to look for jobs and permanent housing, to stay in touch with family, and, hopefully, to help find their way back to stability. Through our 34-year history, Cruzio has provided internet connections to organizations that help the members of our community who are most in need, and as we build new infrastructure we extend it to needy folks when we can.
Most recently, Cruzio was proud to link up new supportive housing on River Street, near the intersection of Highways 1 and 9.
Leveraging state funds from the Home Key program as well as resources from local donors, Housing Matters renovated a long-empty VIctorian house and is using it to provide housing to people who suffer from one or more disabilities and who’ve experienced homelessness for a year or more. The house is close to Housing Matters facilities, creating a much-needed expansion of the campus.
The Casa Azul project consists of two one-bedroom apartments and five studio units, making it a stepping stone towards Housing Matters’ upcoming project, the Harvey West Studios. The latter is a 120-unit permanent supportive housing initiative aimed at providing long-term support to individuals experiencing chronic homelessness. As Casa Azul opens its doors to new residents, there’s a real sense of excitement and progress. Housing Matters and Cruzio intend to replicate the free internet deployment at the new project.
The provision of free internet access at Casa Azul goes beyond merely providing a connection; it represents a gateway to empowerment and opportunity for residents. With reliable and high-speed internet, individuals experiencing chronic homelessness can access crucial online resources, educational opportunities, job training, and employment opportunities.
Moreover, telehealth services will be readily available, ensuring access to remote medical and mental healthcare, fostering improved overall well-being. The ability to stay connected with family, friends, and support networks through online platforms enhances social connectivity and helps build a stronger sense of community within Casa Azul.
The partnership demonstrates a truly impactful approach to tackling the digital divide. As residents move into Casa Azul, they are welcomed not only into safe and stable housing but also into a digitally connected world of opportunities and possibilities.
We feel proud to be able to contribute. Equal Access is a partnership of Cruzio, local community institutions, and local philanthropists. It’s supported by many of our customers (thank you!) and other local donors who know how important quality internet is to every person. It’s part of treating people with dignity.
Every time we can contribute to the well-being of our community, we are going to try. Each piece may be small, and sometimes we feel pretty overwhelmed by the difficulty of curing our local problems. But the only way to tackle big problems is to take the first steps. This housing meets a deep and obvious need. We hope it will prove helpful.
You can help! Make a donation to the Community Foundation Santa Cruz County Equal Access fund. Or just add a small amount to your monthly Cruzio bill, and we will send it to the fund. Equal Access helps seniors and disabled people access health and social services, children get a better shot at online schoolwork, people looking for jobs find opportunities, and much more. Because we add our own contribution, Cruzio can make a small amount of money go a long way.