Where are the Warming Centers?

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By Amanda Caspian

This past week alone temperatures dropped as low as 34 degrees at night with even a frost advisory being issued the week prior. More rain and low temperatures are expected for the rest of the month. What does it take for the City and County to open Warming Centers for those living on the streets or overflow from shelters?

The Unitarian Society of Santa Barbara helped to create the Freedom Warming Centers in 2009 after the death of a local homeless man named "Freedom" during freezing overnight temperatures. They open between November 15 and March 31 when weather conditions can pose a danger to those forced to live out of doors. What determines the activation of these warming centers and what qualifies as dangerous weather conditions? Surely intense rainstorms, 34 degrees, and frost advisories would count as dangerous weather for those living inside.

The Unitarian website, "activation notice is sent out 48 hours in advance, if the weather forecast calls for temperatures below 35 or at least a 50% chance of rain." Haven't the past few weeks counted for this?

Where are our local officials and where is the news coverage? Even for those locals who despise local transients and do not support the warming centers, it is absolutely heartless and unconscionable that people are still freezing to death on the streets and we're not doing anything about it.


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19 Comments

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PitMix Feb 11, 2019 08:24 AM
Where are the Warming Centers?

There has been frost on my windshield in the morning every clear night for the past week. If they are going by the SB temperature gage that they show on KEYT, then it appears to be next to a heater or something because it says 40 when everywhere else (Goleta, Montecito) is low 30s. Plus we know how accurate the weather predictions are. No reason for the warming centers not be open when it is this cold. That being said, this is a national problem and should be paid for with federal dollars. Cities should be screaming about all of the funds coming from their local dollars for this problem.

tagdes Feb 11, 2019 03:03 PM
Where are the Warming Centers?

I answered all of that below but will add that KEYT is no longer Accuweather, but that really doesn't matter as the city weather that they refer to is the one at Fire Station 1 on Carrillo and they usually mention the one at the Airport. There is also one at City Fire Sta. 7 up on Stanwood Dr. which would be closer to north end or foothill temps but never mentioned. It was 31 this morning in East San Roque and a solid 1/4 " thick ice in our birdbath.

a-1566637229 Feb 10, 2019 07:56 PM
Where are the Warming Centers?

Myriad agencies operate locally and offer 'services' to the broad masses of unhoused persons--a people generally thought to need to be coddled like children, to be corralled to receive their daily allottments of benefits and counseling, and to be warehoused overnight like animals. However, while it is no doubt convenient, cost effective, and perhaps psychologically satisfying to simplistically lump all of 'the homeless' into one group, it is intellectual fraud and a betrayal of the principles of community to do so. Within the south coast communities there exists a steadily growing contingent of unhoused, mostly vehicle dwelling people who do not fit the stereotypical description of 'homeless'. That is, while they may be legally defined as such, they do not share many (if any) 'cultural' aspects (i.e., behavioral, motivational, attitudinal (toward the greater, integrated housed society), nor the general outlook, etc., of the majority of unhoused persons defined or locally perceived to be 'homeless'. People in the above described disinct group perceive themselves as (and as a matter of course demonstrate that they are) grown adult human beings, and they can safely be presumed to be continuously sober, rational and capable. That said, to pigeonhole them as belonging to the larger group of people without housing known generally as 'the homeless' is a disservice both to them and to the greater society to do so, and it is a disenfranchisement of what benevolent attitudes about them may presently exist in the hearts and minds of others. What they need is accurate represention of their position, needs, values, priorities, abilies, goals and aspirations while they wait in the interim now preceeding the anticipated resolution of their specific housing solutions.

Roger Feb 10, 2019 05:15 PM
Where are the Warming Centers?

Most of the comments that are negative are from people that see how some homeless people cause trouble to them they include all homeless people it's not all homeless people that cause trouble but there are many that do not just a few. I agree with cleaning up after camping a few clean up after they camp many don't..In this country we have all communities of people and that includes the homeless they are anywhere and everywhere many that are homeless in Santa Barbara are from Santa Barbara and some are not some are travelers looking for a free ride and many of those cause trouble...

Mohji Feb 10, 2019 11:42 AM
Where are the Warming Centers?

I'm shocked at the number of heartless and and mean and cruel comments to Ms. Caspian's query. Nobody wants to be homeless. It's not a chosen profession. It's a sad situation, and homeless people need to be provided warming centers when we have cold weather like we have had lately. All lives matter.

420722 Feb 10, 2019 03:28 PM
Where are the Warming Centers?

What is mean and cruel about calling people (like you) out and saying hey, why is it the governments problem to get these people to safety...what exactly are YOU doing to help if it bothers you that much??? Everyone always wants to point fingers at those not helping whilst also not helping..ugh smh.

a-1566637229 Feb 10, 2019 10:09 AM
Where are the Warming Centers?

It's really disheartening to see the snarky and mean comments here, and generalized statements about our disadvantaged community members. I volunteered for the warming centers several times over the the last few years. It's a great organization and the places that open their facilities and do the dinner meal deserve kudos. This is the first year I haven't received a notice about helping out so I, too, have wondered if they were open. I hope to discover that they have been open and I'm just out of the loop.

Luvaduck Feb 10, 2019 09:44 AM
Where are the Warming Centers?

If a sizable percentage of the homeless didn't create sanitation & safety issues or if reliable groups of them would promise to clean up after themselves and leave the facility as they found it and not create problems housed overnight in public places, there would be more places open, at least to the latter. No one wants to be an unpaid janitor or risk property loss/damage.

CoastWatch Feb 09, 2019 09:26 PM
Where are the Warming Centers?

Hard to imagine why so many need sheltering in a town where the average rent is $2k a month... What they need are bus rides to Fresno or Bakersfield where they can HOUSE THEMSELVES for $600 a month... GTF out of Santa Barbara.

ParvoPup Feb 09, 2019 09:16 PM
Where are the Warming Centers?

Please lady, no offense intended, but please, please, please, don't take the bus to Lompoc. We just spent over 500 thousand dollars of money we don't really have just to clear the 400 homeless people out of the riverbed before it flooded. Our shelters are full, every Section 8 Voucher has been issued. There really aren't that many fast food places to beg from. Few people go to church. Our drugs are mostly "meh". And you scare the old retired Military folks, okay. Besides, it's cold and clammy and the fog messes up your hair and we have no beach. I suggest you consider Ventura or Oxnard instead. Sincerely, Lompoc Parvo Pup

420722 Feb 09, 2019 05:32 PM
Where are the Warming Centers?

Why not take one home? I feel like if people were seriously concerned then the right thing to do would be to open up your own doors. Don’t wait for someone else to do it.

Sundance Feb 10, 2019 10:04 PM
Where are the Warming Centers?

Obviously plenty of people wish they could do that but that would be extremely dangerous!

CoastWatch Feb 09, 2019 02:35 PM
Where are the Warming Centers?

Feel free to take in as many street people as you like- I am sure they'd be happy to stay in your garage if your house gets full...

tagdes Feb 09, 2019 02:27 PM
Where are the Warming Centers?

Santa Barbara goes by it has to be below 40 and they go by the Accuweather forecast. So if it's forecast to be forty but really 36 as it's been for several days, at least here on the north end, none are open. They have to mobilize ahead. Lompoc uses 37 degrees. Keyt interviewed a lady, that I'd overheard earlier in the SB library saying she hadn't slept for 2 days because of the cold, who said she didn't have the $8 to take the bus up to Lompoc and was afraid they'd be full anyway. They're talking about changing the cutoff here.

mattyboy Feb 09, 2019 12:58 PM
Where are the Warming Centers?

Yesterday, a fellow on one of the SB facebook groups was advertising one being open at First United, 305 E Anapamu St, Santa Barbara, CA 93101

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