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Pajaro Valley Shelter Services provides families with a path to stable, self-sufficient futures

through short- and longer-term housing and supportive services.

Our Mission

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Our Vision

We envision a community where families have safe, secure, and stable housing with sufficient resources and space to plan for their futures and pursue happiness.

Our Values

We strive to embody our values in everything we do and in all of our relationships with program participants, team members, partners, and the broader community.



Families achieve their own success through commitment to accomplishing their goals. We support and accompany them on their path to self-sufficient futures by providing knowledge, skills, and connections to community resources. We assure the sustainability of our programs through accountability to our community.

Love Yourself


We recognize the inherent potential of families to overcome challenges and build a better future for themselves. We believe that the primary decision-making role belongs to our program participants, and we honor that role. We respect the dignity of our team members and partners, as well as our program participants, as we work collaboratively to realize our shared mission.

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We care deeply for families and children experiencing homelessness in our community. We are moved to action and determined to inspire and motivate our community to join us.

Founders' Story

Pajaro Valley Shelter Services was founded in 1983 by Sister Marie Veronica & Catholic Charities in response to the needs of women and children affected by homelessness in Watsonville.


“Dear Friends,


Newsweek Magazine gave 10 pages to a detailed description of homelessness in America in the January 2nd [1984] issue. There were plenty of stories and some telling statistics. We read it and identified with the struggles of the poor that we experience daily here at the shelter. The hard fact is that each of us can also ‘feel’ the limits of compassion. There is something in us that doesn’t want to hear any more stories of poverty, hunger and suffering. We know clearly our own limitations and inability to reach out to all. When that happens only our network with other people who care can save us from becoming cold and unfeeling in the midst of suffering. We need to nurture the ‘good Samaritan’ inside of ourselves and know there are others to support our efforts. This is our primary reason for sending you this newsletter. There are always needs in this house, but our most important link is to the network of ‘good Samaritans’ who keep compassion alive through their support of the poor.”


– Sr. Marie Veronica Wagner and Sr. Susan Olson, February 7th, 1984

Our History

1983 - 1992

  • Pajaro Valley Shelter Services (PVSS) was founded in October 1983 with the opening of the Family Emergency Shelter for children and their mothers by a Committee of Red Cross, Holy Eucharist Catholic Community, County Health, and Human Services.

  • In May 1984, the first Mother’s Day Run for Shelter raised $8,000

  • By the end of 1992, PVSS had opened eight additional properties to serve the growing family homeless population.

1993 - 2002

  • PVSS launched an endowment campaign, raising a million dollars. 

  • By the end of 2002, Nine families purchased their own homes upon leaving the PVSS Transitional Housing program.

2003 - 2012

  • The Long-Term Housing program for low-income families was begun as an experiment. Families would have support and longer-term commitment to gain greater independence.

  • By the end of 2012, the number of families purchasing their own homes has increased to 21.
    omes upon leaving the PVSS Transitional Housing program.

2013 - Present

  • PVSS was nominated as Organization of the Year by the Pajaro Valley Chamber of Commerce and Agriculture

  • The organization continued to expand with the acquisition of six more housing units – including two units in Pajaro.

  • PVSS executed the 2019-2022 Strategic Plan to develop its board, funding, programs, resources, facilities and improve its systems. The new Three Pillars of Self-Sufficiency program framework, including three new programs, was created and implemented.

  • To date, 41 families have purchased their own home upon leaving PVSS programs.

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