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Central Coast Collaborative Meeting
updated: Feb 25, 2014, 10:36 AM

By Edhat Subscriber

Did any edhatters attend the forum sponsored by the Central Coast Collaborative on Homelessness (C3H) at Campbell Hall last night, or maybe get invited to participate in the sessions earlier in the day? If so, any reactions?

Comments in order of when they were received | (reverse order)

 COMMENT 497799 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-02-25 08:23 PM

In addition to hearing from representatives from Pasadena and Fresno, there were two excellent talks from Becky Kanis of the 100,000 Homes campaign, and Philip Mangano. Mangano, at last night's event, and Kanis, on 60 Minutes recently, have both made the point that giving a homeless person a place to live and providing ongoing support actually costs less than continuing to provide them with services they utilize while on the street (health care, law enforcement, etc.). Data support this. A lot of folks make the moral argument for ending homelessness, but it makes sense economically, too. I know such a proposal makes some people upset, that a homeless, jobless, unproductive person would be given a place to live (or receive a large break on rent) while many hard-working members of the community struggle to afford housing. But before getting upset at this unequal distribution of resources, it's a good idea to examine the outcome of such a plan.

 

 COMMENT 497808 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-02-25 08:56 PM

But why would we provide the thousands of homeless with homes in Santa Barbara where real estate and housing are near the most expensive in the country? Provide housing somewhere else.

 

 COMMENT 497815P agree helpful negative off topic

2014-02-25 10:11 PM

What housing did they propose to use? What might have been cost effective in Fresno might not work here where 1 bedroom apartments are going for an average as $1,500/month. And that's before gas/electricity/water/trash/food.

 

 COMMENT 497844P agree helpful negative off topic

2014-02-26 07:06 AM

Didn't even know it was being held.

 

 COMMENT 497882 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-02-26 08:50 AM

Are most of the homeless in SB from here? Have they migrated here or been dumped here by other communities not wanting this kind in their town?

 

 COMMENT 497906 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-02-26 09:44 AM

882: That Q was answered at the event. Most are not "dumped." Percentage of homeless who are local, i.e. lived and grew up here, is greater than the general, non-homeless population. This was an interesting presentation, very well attended. Rather than "dissing" the homeless, let's examine the situation.

 

 COMMENT 497956P agree helpful negative off topic

2014-02-26 11:15 AM

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/02/20/garden/small-world-big-idea.html?_r=0
See this article on mini-houses in Olympia, Washington that are being put up for the homeless. Clustered, beautiful... and cherished.

 

 COMMENT 497958P agree helpful negative off topic

2014-02-26 11:21 AM

The presentations glossed over the question of which housing to use. More buildings to stuff in more people - either upscale or downscale - is a bad move. The City of Santa Barbara is pretty full. Some of the county has room to spare. Maybe Santa Maria and Lompoc, Buellton or Summerland, Santa Ynez or Montecito, want to add more affordable shelter space, paid for by...?

Low income residents have it tough already. Lots of people with jobs here can't afford to live here. Taking their options away by filling them with transient homeless is no solution. If there is to be new subsidized housing here, it has to go somewhere that doesn’t displace existing residents. The east side has the troublesome Casa Esperanza plus other shelters already. Another low income facility is going up on Haley. Historically, low-income "projects" don't work. Maybe smaller scale facilities scattered through the town rather than concentrated in one neighborhood would.

A second point drew lots of approval: that the "build it and they will come" attitude is a fallacy, that providing services does not attract customers. The audience was told that there is no magnet effect because the majority of homeless are local residents already. That finding was based on “data.” The fallacy in that fallacy lies with what counts as being a local resident for data gathering purposes. Voter registration would. A CA DL or ID with a Santa Barbara address would. When it comes to housing support based on residency, most agree that those who lose their jobs and lose their houses after living her for years would qualify. Refugees from broken homes and victims of abusive relationships might qualify. But do tourists and transients - rich or poor? Does simply saying, “Sure. I’m a local. See? I’m staying here,” to a pollster make a resident? Does it matter?

What about the backpackers who drop in from Portland or San Francisco? Do they and their dog qualify as residents? Have they 'moved in' by occupying the sidewalk three days in a row? Does the transient who's come in from Texas as part of a grand tour and occupies a bench for a month become a default Santa Barbarino? The person who sets up camp near a coffee shop? The released convict who gets a train ticket to ‘paradise’? How many days does residency actually require? How do you separate the chronic homeless from the local houseless from the professional bums? How do you differentiate those who will become better through services from the opportunists who discover there's a free ride if they come to Santa Barbara? Or is the plan to try to support anyone and everyone, then sort it out later? "The d... [ more ]

 

 COMMENT 498086 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-02-26 04:29 PM

Why the diatribes? The initial inquiry was about the presentation. We are looking for solutions. Alcoholics, drug addicts, the mentally ill used to be housed in mental health hospitals. These were closed in the Reagan years. The funds were to go to communities to set up local housing for these victims of life. The funds were cut. People with low IQs and physical disabilities also need society's care. No one wants to pay taxes. Families often do not take care of their own kin with mental illness, cognitive deficiencies, substance abuse problems or all these things. So who takes takes care of these folks? Everyone needs a safe place to sleep, food, shelter, clean water, clothing, sanitation, and health care. The presenters are looking for solutions. Help don't judge. You or yours may become one of these unfortunates. Do you want to live and die inhumanely? That is what happens now.

 

 COMMENT 498186 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-02-27 07:18 AM

958P- appreciate the length and detail of your post. Regarding who counts as a local and the idea that providing services for the homeless draws them here, the HUD "point in time counts" conducted in 2011 and 2013 sent hundreds of volunteers out on the streets, to shetlers, and to RVs to conduct a detailed census of the homeless population in this county. In each year, over 1,100 homeless were surveyed on a wide range of topics, including being asked about how they ended up in Santa Barbara County and what drew them here. In both years, just over half of those surveyed said they were in Santa Barbara County when they became homeless. Only 4.4% (2013) and 5.3% (2011) said they moved here for the services. Climate, family, friends, and a job all were more important draws to this county. Reducing services will not help the homeless problem significantly.
To see the data, survey, and methods, go to Common Ground SB's web site and click "Vulnerability Index Results"

 

 COMMENT 498192P agree helpful negative off topic

2014-02-27 07:31 AM

Very thankful that the incessant but erroneous claim that services to the homeless drew more people to Santa Barbara, therefore those services should be stopped, has been shown to be what it was --- incorrect. Hopefully, there will be no more to read on that false claim.

All over the world, housing-first has been shown to work, to help reduce the number of homeless people. And it would solve the issue that so many people complain about - the visibility and side-effects of people living on the street.

I would assume that housing for the homeless would not compete with housing for others, and would be temporary as the homeless are encouraged/helped to get on their own two feet.

As far as those non-homeless who find it tough to live in SB, there is just one solution --- pay them better. But that is another subject, for a different study.

 

 COMMENT 498232 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-02-27 09:00 AM

I was one of the volunteers that did the count both in 2011 and 2013. The questions did not permit recording any origin data. If someone responded they were from Pittsburgh, and got here recently, there was nowhere to indicate that on the form. So no surprise when the 'results' showed the homeless were mostly local.

 

 COMMENT 498296P agree helpful negative off topic

2014-02-27 10:39 AM

Thank you, 232. That was what I had heard, and why the "data" arguments need to be discussed. Sometimes respectful critics find things in data - and in the methodology used to gather it - that advocates of a cause wouldn't want to hear. In this event, I wish they'd used the excellent audience response system a bit more and chatted less, especially at the end. It would have been intriguing to understand who was attending and why, and with what agendas.

If existing methods worked well, there wouldn't have been a need for the event. So before additional SB money, energy, facilities get allocated to fixing homelessness by one or two percent, it would be good to air other perspectives and ideas better aligned with this town and the homeless already here or arriving here in 2014. Just like talking about "the homeless" is over-simplifying a complex and diverse population, so is broad-brushing solutions across communities.

 

 COMMENT 498479 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-02-27 06:30 PM

232,You are incorrect to say that the survey did not permit recording of origin data. I was one of the volunteers, too. If you did not record origin data, then you did not do a thorough job as a surveyor. The survey, available on Common Ground's website, reads as follows:
____________
Where did you live prior to becoming homeless? (Select One):
1) North SB Co.
2) South SB Co.
3) Other part of State
4) Out of State

If from other area, what brought you to SB Co.?
1) Family
2) Friends
3) Job
4) Services
5) Climate
6) Other
____________

There was also a notes section, so if you had any additional information (that they came from Pittsburgh, for example) you could add it there.

I agree with 296P that we should talk about data's validity and expose hidden agendas. But as you can see from the way 232 has misrepresented the facts about how origin was recorded, such claims need to be examined with equal scrutiny.

 

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