Freedom Warming Centers Now Operated Under Good Samaritan Shelter

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Source: Freedom Warming Centers

In 2009, a Santa Barbara resident, known by the name of “Freedom”, died on our streets after being exposed to cold and wet winter weather. Stories like his were far too frequently in the news at that time, and our County’s annual “Homeless Death Report” marked winter after winter of preventable deaths from exposure to the elements.

A group of homeless advocates, faith community, and others began working on solutions that would reduce or eliminate the chances of anyone dying from winter conditions in Santa Barbara County. From those meetings, the Freedom Warming Centers was born.

The Freedom Warming Centers (FWC), a grassroots partnership between nonprofits and faith communities, provide temporary “pop-up” shelter for the County’s people living without homes during dangerously cold or damp weather conditions.

To make this effort sustainable, the Warming Centers needed a fiscal agent, to enable the program’s ability to raise funds, provide staff oversight, and manage the administrative tasks of this critical new program.

The Unitarian Society of Santa Barbara answered that call with the intent to administer the FWC for a few seasons until the program was self-sufficient, or until a service agency could take on the administrative duties.

Those “few years” quickly became twelve seasons! With the successful growth of the program, the Warming Centers now require an organization with larger administrative capacity to support this vital service: an organization whose core mission is to serve our houseless neighbors.

We are pleased to announce that Good Samaritan Shelter will be the new fiscal agent for the Warming Centers beginning July 1.

Good Samaritan Shelter’s capabilities, expertise in homeless services, and operational integrity will keep the program thriving for years to come. The two organizations (Good Samaritan Shelter and Unitarian Society) have been in partnership for years, enabling a smooth transition.

Good Samaritan Shelter shares in a commitment to keeping the Warming Centers accessible, safe, and welcoming to all who need shelter on cold and rainy winter nights. The Unitarian Society will continue to be closely involved in this work in a volunteer capacity.

Faith communities like the Unitarian Society will remain vital partners as host sites for the Freedom Warming Centers, which will continue its’ regular, seasonal operations under the administration of Good Samaritan Shelter.

There is a lot to be proud of in the transition of this work. The Warming Centers have sheltered our county’s neighbors without homes for over twelve years, and will continue to do so with the community’s support, for as long as there are people who need it. We look forward to this new season for the Freedom Warming Centers.

More about the Freedom Warming Centers:

The FWCs are a low-barrier service providing shelter to all in need of sanctuary on cold nights. The program serves individuals across 12 sites in Santa Barbara, Santa Maria, Carpinteria, Isla Vista, and Lompoc. Guests can arrive at any hour of the evening, between 6am-6pm for rest, and pets are welcome. The Freedom Warming Centers can be a gateway for homeless individuals seeking recovery and/or housing services and other resources. Individuals who access warming center service have fewer emergency room visits and less likely to be housed in jails. When activated countywide, the Freedom Warming Centers serve approximately 200 individuals a night.

The Warming Center’s work is made possible with help from our community partners, including; Trinity Episcopal Church, First Presbyterian Church, First United Methodist Church, Carpinteria Community Church, First Congregational Church, City of Carpinteria, Peace Lutheran Church, Unitarian Society of Santa Barbara, Santa Maria Salvation Army, the City of Santa Maria, the County of Santa Barbara, and many more.

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CoastWatch Jul 04, 2021 01:08 PM
Freedom Warming Centers Now Operated Under Good Samaritan Shelter

These organizations who get FEDERAL and STATE money HAVE TO ALLOW drugs and alcohol INTO THE SHELTERS...! In some cases, they even PROVIDE the drugs to the "clients"... The Rescue Mission is the ONLY viable shelter option as they do not allow drugs and alcohol into their facilities... It's a Catch 22 as the Feds and State are passing out free money to these other "Homeless INC." organizations with these crazy-non-sensical open drug/alcohol policies RATHER than addiction RECOVERY... Just another example of FAILED GOVERNMENT intervention...

Rypert Johnson Jul 04, 2021 01:37 PM
Freedom Warming Centers Now Operated Under Good Samaritan Shelter

I'm actually going to say something in support of Good Samaritan. They were the organization that was actually doing ANYTHING with the homeless folks that were camping in Anisquoyo Park when the move to People's Park happened and the "pallet village" got built.
They actually gave it their best to help the homeless, but the "houseless neighbors" in the People's Park tent city kept ruining their hard work.
The pallet village residents, they would undergo counseling and such, but when they'd venture out of the confines of the pallet village to visit their "friends" in the tent city, the meth, heroin or alcohol would be offered and they'd go for it.
The sickening part was that Food Not Bombs Isla Vista, Eco-Vista, Bonfire Collective and UCSB FTP wanted to keep the squalor in Anisquoyo Park and hated the pallet village and their support for the tent city "houseless neighbors" and their antics was all the proof needed.
There was even a link on the Food Not Bombs Isla Vista facebook and instagram pages to an article completely dismissing "tiny villages" for homeless people such as the pallet village. It didn't suit their "anarchist" agenda, so it was a bad thing.
The fact is Good Samaritan did find shelter and housing as well as services for many of the homeless in the pallet village program, those who didn't get shelter or housing is because they turned it down, but that was a few.
I think what Food Not Bombs Isla Vista, Eco-Vista, Bonfire Collective and UCSB FTP hated about Good Samaritan is that Good Samaritan cooperated with the Santa Barbara Sheriff's Office, Santa Barbara Public Defender's Office, Santa Barbara District Attorney's Office, Santa Barbara Fire Marshal and assorted other county government and private organizations. This alone ruffled their feathers, doesn't fit the anarchist agenda.
I can tell you with 100% certainty, I would rather support Good Samaritan that the nutjobs in Food Not Bombs Isla Vista, Eco-Vista, Bonfire Collective and UCSB FTP any day of the week.
Good Samaritan does want to do something, all those other cults, they want to keep tent city squalor in the middle of communities as the status quo.

Stray Jul 04, 2021 05:09 PM
Freedom Warming Centers Now Operated Under Good Samaritan Shelter

It's wishful thinking to believe RECOVERY exists without RELAPSE, but you can believe whatever model you want to believe in. On a cold wet night, who helps those who have relapsed? Just tough luck for them? If you have to buy into religion to get a bed, is that good or bad? The worthwhile Warming Centers program has saved lives and operated for 12 seasons in Santa Barbara with volunteers, and now you begrudge grant funding to Good Samaritan to continue the program? The Warming Centers are a proven program, that's why it was awarded funding. Do you think helping the homeless is an easy way to get rich?

Marathoner Jul 06, 2021 10:51 PM
Freedom Warming Centers Now Operated Under Good Samaritan Shelter

Odd that all of the maniacal NIMBY rhetoric continually alludes to various controlled substances with no factual basis and with no empirical support. It is just a routine knee jerk way to throw shade on anything and everything to do with not only homeless but any support system for the poor or otherwise disadvantaged. This smacks of the "reefer madness" hysteria which was really just a way of perpetuating racistm in that marijuana was associated with what were then called "negroes". And the NIMBYism is reminiscent of those who blocked the little black girl from attending school with whites. Now drugs are bad, we know this, and there may be some institutional settings which are not as vigorous in rooting out drug use, either by policy or implementation, but this canard that ALL homeless and poor services are conducted by staff who permit, encourage or, now we are told, faciliatate drug abuse is really just tantamount to slander. It just makes those who harp on this canard lose credibility. And, the funny thing is, if they don't themselves smoke and drink, probably most of their friends do. If they have any friends, and with such a negative attitude towards those who are less fortunate, it seems likely they are lonely souls typing away with disparagment of others...maybe some of these NIMBY keyboard warriors need to get out more and perhaps make a friend or two amongst those very homeless whom they are so mean to from the confines of their computer screens. Maybe that blue light from the computer is causing them to fail to see the humanity behind all of these controversies.

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