Santa Cruz is a pretty crazy place to live, with a few wild and wild west-style cities scattered across its expansive rolling hills and a number of historic districts.
This year, it was even hotter than usual.
There was a scorching day in September, and it started raining hard and fast on September 30, leaving people stranded in the rain for weeks.
Santa Cruz, in particular, is a hotbed of wildfire activity, with one of the region’s most active wildfire hotspots.
But on September 1, the fire season began and the heat wave quickly became one of its worst on record.
As of Monday, the city had reported 3,764 fires, the most since August 2016, according to the Santa Cruz Fire Protection District.
And according to Fire Department officials, the fires are on the rise in Santa Maria County, where there are 1,921 active fire hotspots across the state.
The Santa Cruz region has the third-highest rate of wildfires in the country, behind only California and New York.
And yet, it’s not just the fire-ravaged area that’s taking a toll.
There’s also a huge swath of the country that Santa Cruz has to deal with.
In the early 2000s, the area was home to a few thousand people.
Today, the population has shrunk by nearly half.
In fact, in the last decade, the county’s population has dropped by about a third.
As a result, Santa Cruz now has the second-highest percentage of residents living in poverty in the nation, according the National Center for Housing Security and Community Renewal.
Santa Maria has also seen a sharp increase in housing prices, with the median home value rising by more than $100,000 in the past decade, according Real Estate Board of Santa Maria.
As the region has become more expensive, so have the prices of homes and apartments.
According to a report from Real Capital Analytics, median rent for a one-bedroom apartment in Santa Rosa is $1,200 per month, which is up about 30 percent from five years ago.
Meanwhile, in Santa Clarita, where the population is about 40 percent larger, the median rent is up almost 75 percent over the same period.
So far this year, the number of homes that have gone up for sale in Santa Ana is more than double what it was in the year before the recession.
And, in addition to soaring rents, there are also a number, like the one pictured above, that have been foreclosed on in the area.
According the Santa Claritas County Property Tax Department, more than 40 homes were foreclosed in the city in the first nine months of the year.
In Santa Cruz County alone, the foreclosure rate has doubled since 2008.
That’s not to mention the increased number of empty lots in the county.
As one property owner, who did not want to be identified, put it, “Santa Cruz has a lot of empty spaces.”
For some, the high prices have created a housing crisis.
A recent article by The Atlantic outlined how the housing crisis has caused many of the neighborhoods in Santa Barbara to become “the most unaffordable in the state.”
That was true in Santa Clara County, but even there, the shortage of affordable housing has been more pronounced.
According for example, a new report by the nonprofit Center for Neighborhood Enterprise found that Santa Barbara had the sixth-highest concentration of homeless people, a percentage that is almost twice as high as in San Francisco.
“Santa Barbara has the highest concentration of homelessness in the United States,” the report reads.
“The city is home to some of the nation’s most vulnerable people, including many people with mental illness, and the area is also the home of a number homeless shelters.”
That shortage of housing has forced some of Santa Cruz’s poorest residents to find other places to live.
The median income for a single person living in Santa Fe in August was $23,846, according data from the Census Bureau.
That was nearly $6,000 more than the median income in Santa Monica County.
And the median household income for single people living in the Santa Clara Valley in July was $36,849, which was more than five times the median for Santa Cruz.
As such, the situation in Santa Muerte is particularly dire.
The town of Santa Muero, just a few miles from the city, has a population of about 400, and according to local officials, has the seventh-highest housing vacancy rate in the entire county.
In addition, the unemployment rate in Santa Montero is higher than Santa Cruz and Santa Claritarians overall, at 15.2 percent.
“We have a housing shortage and a homelessness crisis,” said Linda Gorman, a member of the town’s council.
“It’s a real challenge.”
The housing crisis is particularly acute in Santa Cielo, which has about 50,000 residents.
While Santa Cieno is home a majority of the