Body of Homeless Woman Found on State Street

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Source: Santa Barbara Police Department

On March 28, 2022, around 8:20 am, the Santa Barbara Police Combined Communications Center received a report of an unresponsive female found lying on the sidewalk in the 1200 block of State Street. Officers, Paramedics, and Fire Department personnel arrived on scene and located the subject, who was partially covered in a blanket.

After an initial investigation, it appears an employee of a local business called 9-1-1 when they noticed the female was non-responsive. Sadly, it seems the female had been deceased for several hours prior to first responders arriving. The employees of this business knew the decedent as a local transient who frequently camped and slept in front of the business.

At this time there are no suspicious circumstances surrounding this investigation. The Santa Barbara County Sheriffs Coroner arrived on scene to retrieve the decedent. Currently the Sheriff’s Office and the Police Department are working on confirming the identity of the female and looking to locate next of kin.

There is no further information about this investigation currently.

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a-1648523876 Mar 28, 2022 08:17 PM
Body of Homeless Woman Found on State Street

This is truly awful. Local groups can only do so much, we need more funding and organization from the state and federal level to create sweeping change. This isn't just one person, it's a ripple effect. This was someone's daughter, sister, mother, friend, etc.

doulie Mar 29, 2022 07:43 AM
Body of Homeless Woman Found on State Street

CURMUDGEON - As to a "sweeping change," IMO, for one, the feds should close/secure the borders. Once implemented this could allow more money for state/local governments to better deal with the homeless issue. Shut down or minimize the "freebies" to illegal aliens. Again, this could free up more funds to better care for Americans. By not doing this is clear evidence Biden cares more about people from other countries than he does Americans. Biden and the liberals are simply hoping for future votes by pandering to these people.

sbsunshine Mar 28, 2022 08:23 PM
Body of Homeless Woman Found on State Street

Beautiful Soul, as you travel home please know that you are deeply loved by God abd that your life, like all lives matter. May the great winds of the east, west, north and south release you from all pain and suffering and may nature, earth and sky hold your funeral of remembrance that you are eternal, your life here was a gift to all even those that have yet the eyes to see. You are held in the deepest of compassion and grace. Many blessings, many blessings, many blessings. May you always be full and over-flowing with divine love as you travel on now to the central Sun and beyond. Held by God, grace and the angels.

DreamNow Mar 29, 2022 08:12 AM
Body of Homeless Woman Found on State Street

That was absolutely beautiful. The compassion you show for someone you don't even know is overwhelmingly beautiful. Thank you for taking the time to write this. RIP dear soul.

Curmudgeon Mar 28, 2022 08:24 PM
Body of Homeless Woman Found on State Street

"The employees of this business knew the decedent as a local transient who frequently camped and slept in front of the business." Presumably by choice when other alternatives are offered and available.

This brings up the moral/ethical dilemma of our time. Presume for this discussion that the person in question suffered either mental or substance abuse problems and, by choice (or inability to reason) continued to live on the street.

Should we, as a society, allow the destructive behavior to continue or should we forcibly commit the person to a facility against his/her will? What is the more humane action? And why?

Whose "right" to choose a path for an individual is more "correct" - the individual's or the society's?

What say ye?

doulie Mar 29, 2022 06:49 AM
Body of Homeless Woman Found on State Street

CURMUDGEON - I'm told that back in the 70's an attempt was made by police to place addicts in a civil commitment program, i.e., house and rehab versus jail. All the civil libertarians and others came out complaining it was a violation of the addicts "civil rights" to civilly commit them (similar to a psychiatric hold) into a non-jail facility for any reason. From that point forward they were jailed and charged for their crimes. In all cases the priority is the "rights" of the individual. It doesn't matter what the more "humane action" might be. A "humane action" is merely an issue for discussion. In today's world, put someone in a place that benefits them but a place they don't want to be. They will turn around, sue you and end up living in your home.

seahorse Mar 29, 2022 07:02 AM
Body of Homeless Woman Found on State Street

I am in favor of involuntary commitment for people suffering from psychosis and/or debilitating drug addiction. People disabled by addiction or psychosis are not equipped to make choices and decisions necessary for survival any more than very young children are. Would we leave toddlers on the streets to fend for themselves? Or Alzheimer’s patients for that matter?Psychosis and addiction are treatable conditions but require a period of involuntary detention.

SB_93117 Mar 29, 2022 07:19 AM
Body of Homeless Woman Found on State Street

SEAHORSE: Completely agree with you. Some are no longer capable or equipped to make safe decisions for their wellbeing. These are the folks that need jurisdictional support the most. My question on this would be, who pays for it? The city/county wherever the person landed? What if they lost the ability to make decisions two weeks ago and hitched a ride from AZ to CA? Would we then send them back to AZ? My vote would be yes, but then AZ would need to agree or we will just have an even bigger problem with people coming here (or wherever) intentionally for resources. This is why federal policy is needed but in PARTNERSHIP with states and local municipalities. This is why change is unlikely, but not impossible.

doulie Mar 29, 2022 08:13 AM
Body of Homeless Woman Found on State Street

SEAHORSE - I don't think anything has changed regarding an addict and involuntary commitments (can't do it). I'll go a little extreme by saying addicts can choose what house/business to burglarize/rob and the value of items they steal. They know how much drug to use. I don't think it can be said about an addict they "are not equipped to make choices and decisions necessary for survival." Using criteria in your comment (07:02), given Biden's cognitive condition, does he "require a period of involuntary detention?"

doulie Mar 29, 2022 08:18 AM
Body of Homeless Woman Found on State Street

CONNIE - IMO current laws have tied our hands to the extent those not wanting help have to be ignored until they commit a crime. Everyone loses.

a-1648569880 Mar 29, 2022 09:04 AM
Body of Homeless Woman Found on State Street

I have a homeless relative, who appears to be suffering from mental illness. He is delusional, but one of his symptoms is that he doesn’t think anything is wrong with himself. It is a tough situation, in that he won’t consent to any kind of treatment. With the current laws, I don’t see any resolution to his tragic situation. If he could be involuntarily held/treated, then there would be a chance for his recovery. He is not an addict, and not homeless by choice, but by lack of ability to care for his basic needs (i.e. food and housing and self-care).

a-1648528233 Mar 28, 2022 09:30 PM
Body of Homeless Woman Found on State Street

I was on the 1200 block last night around 9pm. There was a woman tucked in a doorway, sleeping in a wheelchair. It was a pitiful sight that's haunted me since. Now I wonder if it was her. There are so many in town now, and they are far more visible than those of us with shelter. They've come to represent us and our neighborhoods. Remember Terry, the bongo player in that same block? He told me he had lived on the streets for years, a chosen lifestyle. The world was his front yard. I haven't seen him in a long time now. The number and mental/physical condition of the homeless in Santa Barbara has changed dramatically since those days. At East Beach, we now have Michael, living at the bus stop in front of the zoo (unless he decides to hide under a tarp in the middle of the street.) He's been there for YEARS. He was taken away by police yesterday. I hope he's finally accepting help and won't be back on his bench tomorrow. But, nothing has worked yet, at least seven years and counting of some very good and well-meaning efforts to help him. Really, Santa Barbara is doing an impressive job in providing support. It's the rest of the country that is letting us down. These people are their children, brothers and sisters, mothers and fathers. It will take a nationwide plan and nationwide funding to ever get ahead of it. I want good things for each of them. I want them to find their way out of homelessness, and lead fulfilling and productive lives. But, I'm also done with living in fear. I've had more than a couple of frightening encounters in the past 20 years, with escalating regularity since Covid. I'm sick of State Street being filthy and sporadically dangerous. I've had enough of weaving around bodies passed out on the sidewalks and bike paths. And scantily clad addicts screaming and crying at me to buy them cigarettes while I'm in line at the drug store. Or trying to travel by Amtrak, only to have it delayed by someone very high, pants falling down, stumbling down the tracks, then running in circles as police try to catch them. It's no way for any of us to live. This country needs desperately to address addiction, assure that anyone working a full-time job can afford life's basic needs, and those with mental and physical challenges get the support and services they require. If the richest country on earth can't provide that to its citizens, it's not so rich after all.

Notyou Mar 28, 2022 09:56 PM
Body of Homeless Woman Found on State Street

I'd see her in the mornings on my walks with the dogs. We would stop often and say hello and she always seemed to appreciate it and gave me a sweet smile. Rip Chrissy

Mebk Mar 29, 2022 05:22 AM
Body of Homeless Woman Found on State Street

How about the millions being spent to house 20,000 pouring over our borders monthly ? Let’s care for those that are here legally and need our help there are many,

sacjon Mar 29, 2022 02:01 PM
Body of Homeless Woman Found on State Street

MEBK - we can afford to do both, we're one of the greatest, most wealthy countries on earth. Do you really think we're not helping the homeless because we're instead putting all our money into helping immigrants?

a-1648590418 Mar 29, 2022 02:46 PM
Body of Homeless Woman Found on State Street

MEBK, way off: "U.S. border authorities recorded 164,973 migrant apprehensions last month, compared to 153,941 detentions in January, the CBP figures show. Expulsions of migrants under a pandemic-era restriction put in place in 2020 rose by 17% to 91,513, representing 55% of all border encounters in February." That is a neat gain of illegal immigrants greater the size of Santa Barbara in a single month, and that's only the ones they caught!

SB_93117 Mar 29, 2022 07:08 AM
Body of Homeless Woman Found on State Street

This is long. If you don't want to read it, don't. But don't read it only half way and submit a misinformed comment.

I clicked on the article to see if I may have known this woman. I must say that, for the first time EVER, the comments are empathetic, encouraging, touching, and generally positive. I have not clicked on an article to read anything on Edhat in so long because I was tired on the negativity and people constantly being shut down. I'm writing this to say thank you to those of you expressing love for this woman, sending her with peace and blessings, stating that nobody should live this way (and pay what we do in SB and still have these issues) and noting that change is needed.

I used to work at the SB Rescue Mission first in the recovery dept. and then in the homeless dept. It's hard to understand that this is, in fact, a chosen life for some. It's hard to accept that some people just prefer this kind of life. Others, of course, are dropped into this life because of poor planning, a devastating life event, illness, handicap, or loss. That someone mentioned this country might not be so rich after all if we can't even figure out how to address homelessness and its varied reasons is correct. It's not just one thing; the causes are many and they are deep and widespread.

Nonetheless, we all recognize it. We all hate it. We all want it to be different. We all want to walk safely down State Street in "paradise" and not wonder if we are going to be accosted (or worse) by someone wanting alcohol, smokes, liquor, money or a fill-in-the-blank of the day. I won't go to Marshall's after 6pm any more. I dread going EVER because of the surrounding area. I hate the changes on State Street to foot traffic mostly because it made the homeless population so much more prevalent there. Not that it hasn't always been an issue, but it's just so much worse now.

I remember a gentleman that reminded me of my brother many years ago. I passed him every day on my walk to work (at the Granada Bldg.). We spoke a few words here and there and I felt for him. One day I bought a backpack and filled it with canned goods and other supplies. I handed it to him one morning and told him to take care of himself. The next morning I noticed he didn't have it and asked what happened. He said they beat me up and took it. I can't express how I felt knowing that something I did contributed one ounce of pain to him.

So this is not something that individuals can do. This isn't even just what one community can do because geographical boundaries are irrelevant to homelessness. It would be more important that the state in PARTNERSHIP with counties and cities would develop a plan to address the root causes and then determine plans that would initiate action, even one life at a time. MEBK mentioned, "How about the millions being spent to house 20,000 pouring over our borders monthly ? Let’s care for those that are here legally and need our help there are many." Well I happen to agree with that. It is literally the same thing they tell you on a plane (put on your own oxygen mask before trying to rescue others). If I'm drowning, I can't save you. We are drowning and we need to stop turning a blind eye.

We must take care of our own before we can ever hope to take care of others. There is not just one solution. Just as there are many root causes, there must be many approaches, supports, and resources. I work in non-profit, our organization provides meals and other resources to the homeless (and other populations in SB County), I have adopted children on the brink of homelessness...I try very hard in my "little world" to help as much as I can. We are all so divided these days. I wonder if we can ever get together as a society and community to help a sad situation such as homelessness to create real change. I just don't know if we can, but it won't stop me from trying. Every day.

Thank you for the positive comments as it has restored a little faith for me in this platform.

conniemara Mar 29, 2022 07:30 AM
Body of Homeless Woman Found on State Street

thank you for this...for standing up......these homeless people are our fellow humans/brothers/sisters......there but by the grace of God go you or I.......this world sucks sometimes :(

fitz Mar 29, 2022 07:25 AM
Body of Homeless Woman Found on State Street

233: You just nail it. We need to humanely move the homeless one at a time from the streets into a safe place. That woman found dead on the street needed help and protection. Maybe groups can 'adopt' a person and make sure that person is put in a safe place and gets the help he/she needs. Contacting family should be a number one priority, even if the homeless person does not want that. As has been noted earlier, each of these people is someone's loved one.

SBTownie Mar 29, 2022 10:07 AM
Body of Homeless Woman Found on State Street

I agree with your sentiment and I know you are sincere. But many of these people are homeless precisely because their mental illness, or addiction, or pathological behavioral problems (probably stemming from traumatic early life) cannot be worked with and many, many of these people's families have tried. I have numerous criminals in my extended family. Several in jail. Some addicts. One has been homeless (though is now in jail). And some who are just deadbeats. Other family members have tried to get them help, or have interventions, etc. It has not worked. There is a reason we do not maintain contact with them.

conniemara Mar 29, 2022 07:26 AM
Body of Homeless Woman Found on State Street

Welcome to SB home of the rich & famous and poor homeless people.......SB is better than this...for God's sake lead this problem.....yes it nationwide but be a leader

Rinconer Mar 29, 2022 07:33 AM
Body of Homeless Woman Found on State Street

R.I.P. Anonymous homeless lady. Perhaps many people saw her as they left a club after spending $50-$100 + to get drunk, or maybe $500 for “bottle service” and/or a V.I.P. table nearby on State Street. Doubt that anyone gave her a second look, or a few dollars for food.
Oh well, too late now, she’s dead.

a-1648568462 Mar 29, 2022 08:41 AM
Body of Homeless Woman Found on State Street

Riconer, money was not the help this lady needed. More of it would only have continued to enable her lifestyle and enabled others to follow.

a-1648567848 Mar 29, 2022 08:30 AM
Body of Homeless Woman Found on State Street

Oh, I hope this isn't the thin pretty lady who slept in the doorway near the Granada. I didn't know her name but we always said hello and "love ya." I had a warm vest I was keeping for next time I saw her. I will go down tonight and see if she is there.

a-1648568063 Mar 29, 2022 08:34 AM
Body of Homeless Woman Found on State Street

Seahorse et al.: I volunteered during college in an "involuntary commitment" place. It was a hellhole and I'm not convinced they have changed enough. "I'm from Missouri" we used to say, meaning: Show me first.

a-1648568361 Mar 29, 2022 08:39 AM
Body of Homeless Woman Found on State Street

As a community we have to decide if we want people living/sleeping/dying on our our sidewalks or not. Currently the consensus is yes, this is okay, which only served to enable this lady's lifestyle and early demise. She was enabled by the business that let her sleep out front, enabled by those supporting her with money and food, enabled by the city who throws up their hands and says "we can't do this, we can't do that, our hands are tied...". This only enables more to follow in this lady's footsteps. Until the consensus of our community reveals it is not okay for people to setup camp on the sidewalk, to get high and/or drunk in a trash pile on the side of the on-ramp, it will continue. For much less than the city has spent on all the temporary housing or tiny homes they could fund a large bunk house, away from the commercial core but near public transit, where everyone could have a bunk and a locker in a sober, drug free environment. If they choose not to participate that is okay, but the consequence is our community actually enforcing existing laws; laws against being drunk in public, using and possessing drugs, littering our streets and polluting our creeks with the result being prison, addiction treatment facilitates, or psychological care facilities. The cost for this path, which would actually address the problem, would pale in comparison to the path we've chosen, spending tens of millions of dollars a year enabling the problem - we're currently just throwing money at it and turning our heads.

a-1648569123 Mar 29, 2022 08:52 AM
Body of Homeless Woman Found on State Street

Fitz: The adopting is a good idea. It can be done. It takes several years of focused work to get housing for a person, and employment is out of the question, they have been so battered around and their skills and focus are deteriorated past use. We do it; with inflation right now, to cover the utilities and provide for food is about $400 a month.

a-1648571537 Mar 29, 2022 09:32 AM
Body of Homeless Woman Found on State Street

O.K., ACLU website discussion available: "As homelessness steadily rises in America, so too does the willingness of state and local governments to use criminal laws against their homeless residents. Earlier this year, a federal appeals court found that laws making it illegal to sleep in public violate the Eighth Amendment’s prohibition on cruel and unusual punishment when they’re used against individuals without access to shelter. Maria Foscarinis, the founder and executive director of the National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty, discusses the decision, criminalization broadly, and other systemic obstacles to addressing the needs of homeless people. "

Eggs Ackley Mar 29, 2022 10:07 AM
Body of Homeless Woman Found on State Street

@ A-1648571537 Mhmm, so you seem to agree that the ACLU is helping the homeless to die on the street. Your concern is vapid.
GIMLI summarized the problem. Some people won’t care for themselves and feel it’s their right to impact others. Ears open for your answers to enable the homeless to avail themselves of the myriad of readily available solutions.

Gimli Mar 29, 2022 09:54 AM
Body of Homeless Woman Found on State Street

I became homeless twice, and it was very hard for me to get housed because I am not a heavy drug user, heavy alcoholic nor I do I have serious mental issues. I became homeless because of economic issues. Losing my employment and the companies that I worked at shut down. My experiences living out on the streets of SB, I came across many of those who are homeless and I would ask them if they are trying to get housed, especially senior citizens. The answer was "No". They prefer to live out in the streets and have no interest in getting housing. I reside near the 1200 block of State St. and I have no idea who this women is. This is very sad that she passed away on the streets of SB. She was not the first and she will not be the last.

SBTownie Mar 29, 2022 10:04 AM
Body of Homeless Woman Found on State Street

Very sad. May she RIP. I am on this block at least several times a week so I have a few ideas as to who this may have been. There is one female resident I have seen there for the last year or so nearly every time I've been through.

Mike Shellenberger is running for governor again. Here we have an opportunity to elect a progressive who wants to do something to end homelessness. We may not be able to "solve" it in the truest sense, but we can end people sleeping on the streets and get them the care they need.

SBArts Mar 29, 2022 10:21 AM
Body of Homeless Woman Found on State Street

I believe this was dear Christine. I watched over her and gave her money and food for the past 10 years as she used to hang out at La Arcada Courtyard. The restaurant owners also fed her and we cared about her. She was a dear soul. I just closed my store on March 1 and was so worried about her. She is/was a gentle soul. May she Rest In Peace.

AwareHuman Mar 29, 2022 11:04 AM
Body of Homeless Woman Found on State Street

Well, for sure NO bureaucracy will even come close to solving the homeless phenomenon, as is blatantly evident. So called "non-profits" , local governments,& Federal programs are all bureaucracies. Mentorship is a better option....NO money needed, no bureaucracy...just simple interaction, restoration of dignity, human-to-human contact.... connection is powerful and direct. Isolation exacerbates mental health issues. Drug addicts & alcoholics already get too priority , as lotsa money fliws to grants for such. They get Section 8 & SSI, Food Stamps..., Free health care too.then, they sit & woatch TV all day. Although able to work after pricey rehab, most prefer all the perks WE provide. Again, bureaucracy at play. Much talent is hidden in the homeless. Let's start a mentorship movement that is free from directors & staff (and the need to perpetuate their positions)! Maybe the person you choose to help just needs to be heard & helped with tires for their car or van ..etc. maybe they need the perk of dignity restored & some guidance in exactly how to monetize their skills/talents. This is how I've helped , and ,yes, mentorship works,!!

notme Mar 29, 2022 01:10 PM
Body of Homeless Woman Found on State Street

It's a very complicated issue. If you haven't already read 2008 book, The Soloist, by L.A. Times columnist Steve Lopez, do so (skip the mediocre movie they made of it). Lopez discovered a talented musician playing a 2-string violin on skid row. It turns out that the musician had a mental break while studying at Juilliard. Lopez did everything he could to try to help this man, and it literally took years just to get him off the street and into housing, because he didn't want housing. Mental illness is so insidious. Many of the homeless don't want help, don't think they need help, and can't be forced into accepting help. And it's not always about early trauma -- a friend's brilliant son showed signs of it even as a child. My friend and her husband did all they could, he got into a good college, but the demons were too much for him, and he dropped out. He worked in menial jobs, then chose to ride the rails and live the life of a busker. Eventually, he and his pregnant girlfriend moved back in with his parents. One night, he OD'd, and that was it. His younger brother is the complete opposite, and is working on a PhD. They were close in age, raised the same way, but the older brother had the demons that the younger one didn't.

Humanitarian2003 Mar 29, 2022 02:26 PM
Body of Homeless Woman Found on State Street

The downtown environment has become depressed due to different factors. Many people would rather not have to pay to park in an area away from where they intend to go. Merchants avoid renting the high-cost downtown properties which have become less desirable for customers to access. Property owners are often wealthy and find economic ways to get financial benefit from vacant stores. Some homeless folks find shelter and access to support in the depressed urban environment. Many people shopping do not consider accessing businesses in the downtown area because of all of the associated disadvantages. Many people are shopping online. The ownership of property and its inflated value is out of proportion to its actual worth. Homeless people always will access outdoor living in this climate and with its easy survival. We cannot just blame the homeless for the downtown problems. I was forced out of my business there by a rich commercial investor who bought the building that housed my business. Any solution must involve consideration of all of the myriad factors and bring an equanimatous solution that addresses all issues. I often think that the wealthy commercial investor who put millions into buying the building where my business was located is now having to deal with his greed and lust, while I am now in a much more ideal circumstance as a result of being forced to move. If the downtown property is not desirable, it will not be valuable. But how will Santa Barbara City be able to survive economically, with less business taxes, sales taxes, licensing fees, parking fees and traffic fines, developer fees, etc?

sbdude Mar 29, 2022 03:01 PM
Body of Homeless Woman Found on State Street

For those who are the visibly homeless street people, the homelessness itself is just a symptom. It is a symptom of some combination of substance abuse, mental illness, terrible decision making, and yes, a little bad luck. By the time they get to that point, many are unlikely to ever be able to support themselves or really ever be productive members of society. Providing them with homes or enabling them as 08:39 described only addresses symptoms and not the underlying causes, and they remain a burden of and completely dependent on society. At some point the only way to deal with them will be to deprive them of their liberty and freedom to be that burden and force upon them cures for their underlying problems. Until we are willing to do that (and I am not convinced we as a society ought to go there), we will have this problem.

This mostly does not apply to the invisible homeless, those who are temporarily down on their luck and are living in their cars or couch surfing or whatever. They are often willing and even eager to receive help and get back on their feet, and there are a number of very successful services for these folks.

KarmaSB Mar 30, 2022 09:27 AM
Body of Homeless Woman Found on State Street

have you walked in their shoes? have you been homeless? you're throwing out a lot of words for someone who, probably, hasn't experienced any of this first hand. I have. Let me tell you something, your assessments and ideas of why people are homeless are somewhat on track, but there are many many other factors you don't seem to see. 1 big one is affordable housing and wages. One person looses a job, if they are like the majority of us and go paycheck to paycheck, losing your job could mean you are sent to sleep on the street. it's as simple as that. not everyone on the street has mental issues, addiction problems, bad choices, etc as you claimed. Until you yourself have walked a mile in those shoes, please try to be a bit more compassionate, and furthermore, this thread is about someone passing away. show some respect. if she was living with a roof over her head or not, is irrelevant. She was a known local citizen that passed away. Alone. Cold. Probably hungry too and I would assume sad. No one with a decent heart should have to end their days this way. No love, no family, no warmth.

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