Santa Cruz County, CA — Community Bridges applauds the decision of the Live Oak School District (LOSD) Board of Trustees to extend Meals on Wheels for Santa Cruz County’s lease at the Live Oak Senior Center for six months, to June 30, 2023.
Meals on Wheels, which has operated out of the Live Oak Senior Center since 1977, was first given a 6 month notice of non-renewal on May 4 by LOSD, which seeks to construct workforce housing on the property at 1777 Capitola Road.
The new eviction date provides an opportunity for Meals on Wheels, which operates under Community Bridges, and the LOSD community to work together and envision a project that can address the community’s needs, or reach an alternative solution that would allow continued senior focused operations at the site and the desired teacher housing.
Along with the LOSD Board’s decision to extend the lease, the Trustees also approved the creation of a sub-committee to discuss the future development of workforce housing at the site. The sub-committee will be facilitated by the Superintendent and include two Trustees, labor representatives, administrative representatives, parents, staff, and community partners.
The Live Oak Senior Center has served as the primary kitchen and distribution center for Meals on Wheels for Santa Cruz County since 1977 and allows us to complete and address our mission of serving over 800 clients with nutritious meals.
Last year, Meals on Wheels for Santa Cruz County distributed roughly 250,000 meals to seniors, many of them homebound and living below the poverty line.
In late 2018, LOSD informed Community Bridges that they were seeking to rethink the use of the property. Community Bridges, Meals on Wheels has been actively engaged in conversations with the LOSD for the last four years. This includes the possibility of a mixed-use housing project that could help address the dire need for housing as well as maintain the needed services Meals on Wheels provides for seniors. Community Bridges is also committed to maintain the site in proper working order and has made numerous offers to repair the center in exchange for an extended lease.
Community Bridges has also engaged with local, county and state officials as well as various stakeholders to try to help identify a new location, should the LOSD follow through on the eviction.
At this time, we are in intermediate stages of a location in Santa Cruz. This location would require serious investment of close to $2 million of renovation and repair and up to 2 years to complete the necessary improvements.
As a result, we will need to decentralize the MOW operations across the community and use existing kitchen facilities at Elderday and City of Watsonville to perform preparation of congregate meal service should we lose the LOSD site. In addition, additional cost for renovations and needed capital improvement will be made to address the new impacts to the kitchens. We will also need to spend additional dollars in additional rental expense to secure the necessary freezer space for the Home Delivered Meal program while we look to centralize our kitchen operations once again using thousands of dollars on capital projects at the expense of meals for seniors.
ABOUT COMMUNITY BRIDGES
Community Bridges envisions a thriving community where every person has the opportunity to unleash their full potential. Together, our family of programs delivers essential services, provides equitable access to resources, and advocates for health and dignity across every stage of life. To learn more, please visit www.communitybridges.org.
The Community Bridges family of programs includes the Child & Adult Care Food Program, Early Education Division, Women, Infants and Children (WIC), La Manzana Community Resources, Live Oak Community Resources, Mountain Community Resources, Nueva Vista Community Resources, Elderday Adult Day Health Care, Lift Line and Meals on Wheels for Santa Cruz County.