In lieu of state funding, one volunteer program aims to keep the streets safe from dirty needles
Last September, the Downtown Santa Cruz community was dealt a firm blow when the Santa Cruz AIDS Project’s Drop-In Center fell prey to state budget cuts and was forced to close its doors.
For 10 years the center provided a safe-haven for many in the community—whether they had fallen on hard times, needed shelter from the elements, or were dealing with serious drug addictions. The center also dispersed information on drug rehabilitation and medical treatments, as well as administered a syringe exchange program (SEP). Now, with such a noticeable void left in the community, volunteer groups have been scrambling to provide the lost services. One such group is Street Outreach Supporters (S.O.S.).