With local housing prices continuing to rise, housing is an issue that impacts all county residents. The Santa Cruz County Planning Department will hold a series of public meetings to finalize its Housing Element, a plan to assure the adequate supply of housing to meet the needs of county residents. Available online, the plan includes: analysis of the current housing stock and housing trends, discussion of the constraints in providing new and replacing aging housing and an outline of the challenges to increasing the supply of affordable and below-market housing. County residents can give their input at a series of public meetings: Wednesday, December 2 at 3:00 p.m. at the Santa Cruz County Housing Advisory Commission (1080 Emeline St., Santa Cruz); Wednesday, December 9 at 9 a.m. at the Santa Cruz Planning Commission (701 Ocean St., Fifth Floor, Santa Cruz); Tuesday, January 12, 2016 at 9 a.m. at the Santa Cruz County Board of Supervisors (701 Ocean St., Fifth Floor, Santa Cruz).

Housing and veterans advocates say they are on track to end veteran homelessness in Santa Cruz County by the end of 2016. Currently, 175 formerly homeless veterans are being housed with Housing and Urban Development- Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing (HUD-VASH) vouchers. Advocates say an additional 193 local veterans are still on the streets and are calling on area landlords and community members to be a part of the recently announced “Be a Hero: Help a Hero” initiative, which asks home owners to accept the HUD vouchers and community members to volunteer to help homeless veterans in their housing search and to purchase a “Welcome Home” move-in kit for newly housed veterans.

The latest addition to the state park system, the Castro Adobe State Historic Park will have an Open House on Saturday, December 5 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Built from 1848 to 1849, the Castro house is one of the finest examples of a rancho hacienda in the Monterey Bay area and is currently undergoing a multi-year restoration process. Open House visitors will be able to tour the property including the recently restored cocina (kitchen) and the Potter-Church Garden while nibbling on handmade tortillas and hot chocolate. The adobe is available to visitors by appointment only, making this event a unique opportunity for California history buffs.

Pictured: Castro Adobe State Historic Park via Facebook/castroadobe.