Santa Cruz County, CA — Community Bridges and Meals on Wheels for Santa Cruz County, in unison with Senior Network Services and Seniors Council for Santa Cruz and San Benito Counties, is inviting media to a Tuesday morning press conference in response to Live Oak School District’s (LOSD) impending decision of whether it will move forward with the June eviction of vital older adult services from their current headquarters on Capitola Road.
The LOSD’s Board of Trustees at its Wednesday, February 22nd meeting is expected to vote on whether it will follow through with the planned June 30, 2023, eviction date it gave to Meals on Wheels for Santa Cruz County and Senior Network Services, as recommended by Superintendent Daisy Morales.
Both of those critical older adult-serving nonprofits are headquartered at 1777 Capitola Road, a property that LOSD purchased through the proceeds of a $14.5 million bond measure approved in 2004 that was pitched to area voters as a way to keep the Live Oak Senior Center open and allow the services offered there to continue, as well as the special use of redevelopment dollars through the County of Santa Cruz.
The property, also known as the Live Oak Senior Center, was originally acquired by the County for $3,315,000. The County then sold the Senior Center to LOSD for $2,225,000 to ensure older adult-serving programs would remain active at the site.
Press conference information:
- When: Tuesday, February 21st at 10am
- Where: 1777 Capitola Road, Santa Cruz
- What: Press conference regarding possible eviction of critical older adult services
- Who: Community Bridges, Meals on Wheels Santa Cruz County, Senior Network Services, and Seniors Council for Santa Cruz and San Benito Counties
The Live Oak Senior Center has served as the primary kitchen and distribution center for Meals on Wheels for Santa Cruz County, which operates under Community Bridges, 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 older adults, many of them homebound and living below the poverty line.
In late 2018, LOSD informed Community Bridges that it was seeking to rethink the use of the property for workforce housing. Community Bridges-Meals on Wheels has been actively engaged in conversations with the LOSD for the last four years, and was excited to possibly be included in the ad-hoc committee the district formed recently to further explore the possibility of a mixed-use housing project that could help address the dire need for workforce housing as well as maintain the needed services Meals on Wheels provides.
LOSD in May 2022 told Meals on Wheels and Senior Network Services that we had until October 21st, 2022, to leave the property—the Board has since extended the notice to leave to the current June 30, 2023, date. At that time, LOSD also said that the senior center needed roughly $500,000 in maintenance for providers to safely continue services. Community Bridges obtained another estimate for the work at a little more than $100,000, and offered, and continues to offer, to make those repairs on the condition that the lease was extended for two years. Community Bridges continues to work on an alternate site plan and development project and added time to the lease will bear no impact on LOSD’s plans but will allow Community Bridges to explore and develop a future home.
Though we have made progress in finding a potential new home, the decision to move forward with the June 30, 2023, date would require us to decentralize the Meals on Wheels operations across the community, which would significantly and unnecessarily increase costs, as well as impact the variety of food options we can offer and likely temporarily impact services to one of the most disadvantaged and overlooked demographics in our region.
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 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.
About Meals on Wheels for Santa Cruz County
Since 1976, Meals on Wheels for Santa Cruz County, a program of Community Bridges, has served nearly 9 million meals to 65,000 local seniors in need. Meals on Wheels for Santa Cruz County serves 1,600 seniors in need each year with nutritious meals and caring human contact. The tireless work of this program—supported by a dedicated army of 200 volunteers—allows thousands of Santa Cruz County residents to remain healthy, safe, and independent in their own homes.