Homeless Woman Sleeping in Neighborhood

64 Comments
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By an edhat reader

We live on the Westside near a parking lot which tends to attract some interesting characters parking along the side of our house. Usually, its teenagers looking to make out and smoke pot but lately we think there may be a woman living out of her car. 

On a few mornings, my wife leaves for work quite early and she's seen an older woman (mid 60's maybe) urinating and/or defecating on the side yard of our house and across the street. She watched the woman then get into a nice-looking sedan and lay down in the backseat. She said she didn't look "homeless" and the first time we chalked it up to maybe misreading the situation but after the second time and seeing which car belongs to her we're pretty sure she's living out of her car.

We don't want to call 911 for a non-emergency and hope this woman gets the services she needs, but also don't want her defecating on the sidewalk. Who's the best agency to call?

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Eggs Ackley Apr 06, 2019 07:52 AM
Homeless Woman Sleeping in Neighborhood

Leave a note on the windshield: please don't pee/poop in public and dispose of it properly, include the info already noted about parking programs etc. First of all she will appreciate not being outed and rousted and perhaps lessening the chance of retaliatory acts. Second, it may make her realize that there are nice people in this town and help her find the incentive to get her life together. Compassion is HUGE for both parties. Maybe she's lived here all her life and found hard times due to divorce or whatever. Surprisingly social and family support often evaporates in the face of true need. Most of these people are ashamed and embarrassed and simply want to blend in to the community.

a-1561017125 Apr 04, 2019 06:12 PM
Homeless Woman Sleeping in Neighborhood

Build a big shower and breakfast facility at East Beach instead of the lame upscale unnecessary restaurant. This way the pain of it all will be In Our Face, but at least offering an actual start. Outreach? What a crock. $2M for birds to walk around and congratulate themselves for offering advice. This lady needs a warm shower. Offer her one.

a-1561017125 Apr 04, 2019 02:39 PM
Homeless Woman Sleeping in Neighborhood

We have too many people on the planet. Fortunately here the problem manifests itself in the form of poor people like the woman mentioned. Elsewhere, it is civil war, famine, displacement of entire population groups, pandemics and worse. Yet we insist on forcing unwanted pregnancies to term, we fight laws permitting death with dignity(God bless Jack Kervorkian) we withdraw funds from countries in need making it even more imperative for their poor to come to the US by any means, and we fail to come up with a means of helping the mentally ill. My mother was a zero population growth advocate in the 1950's.......more people should have listened.

Eggs Ackley Apr 06, 2019 07:31 AM
Homeless Woman Sleeping in Neighborhood

2 parents 1 child ____ -1 people net change between generations. Why the world is overpopulated: poor math skills and inability to think logically.

ParvoPup Apr 04, 2019 07:10 PM
Homeless Woman Sleeping in Neighborhood

"My mother was a zero population growth advocate in the 1950's.......more people should have listened." ...so that means you were either born in the 1940's or your dad was deaf.

RHS Apr 04, 2019 10:22 AM
Homeless Woman Sleeping in Neighborhood

In response to Chip and friends: What nonsense. The "needy poor" are OK but everyone else (you make the call as to whom they are) deserves brutal "tough love". This tough love thing failed miserably a couple of decades ago. It is an awful way to raise children. It is a destructive way to address social problems--sort of like the idea that war will end the threats we face as a society. Most of the homeless people are simply unable to compete in our system. They are not that smart or have physical or psychiatric or emotional problems that keeps them out of the formal process of society. Some are addicted to drugs and end up on the margin because they spent whatever resources they had (including family ties) on addiction. But they are a normal and expected part of any society. It is how we handle this that differs--in the "sophisticated" affluent communities like SB the main reaction is to deny the legitimacy of their existence--the are "outsiders" and such. This is so comfortable as it means locals don't have to do anything charitable or "risky" and we can just push them out of town (or at least out of sight). What hypocrisy.

a-1561017125 Apr 03, 2019 09:20 PM
Homeless Woman Sleeping in Neighborhood

Just a suggestion: Maybe we need human poop bag stations, same as we have doggie bag dispensers set up. Bags with an organic and biodegradable wetwipe attached.

a-1561017125 Apr 03, 2019 05:35 PM
Homeless Woman Sleeping in Neighborhood

About a year ago, a woman I sort of grew up with here in Santa Barbara (a large group of friends, all in our mid-to-late 20s), got in touch with me. She had had a bad childhood, which, in my experience, seems to send a lot of people off the deep end. Fast forward to 40 years on, now we're in our 60s. She knocks on my door. She's in a bad way. Missing a few teeth, overly tan, obviously not quite "all there." Ranting about this and that. Living "rough." I gave her money. I took her shopping for food. I drove her to several places over the next few weeks. In the end, I had to tell her I was done helping her. My housemates voted to ban her from our property. She, as others have already let us know on Edhat, was one of those who eschewed use of any Rescue Mission, Salvation Army or other organization which might clothe and feed and house her. She said the religion was like a hammer to the head. She said at one facility there was a woman constantly banging away on the organ (or whatever). She said she'd rather sleep outside. She wasn't the woman I knew 40 years ago, poor dear. She wasn't at all sane. I couldn't help her.

EmilyAllen Apr 03, 2019 04:14 PM
Homeless Woman Sleeping in Neighborhood

I’m glad someone already mentioned Home For Good (www.homeforgoodsbc.org) and Safe Parking. You can give Home For Good a call at 805-450-3558 and leave a message with more details about the location and we can coordinate outreach. We have daily outreach in the City of Santa Barbara and a weekly coordinated Outreach meeting with County, City and non-profit partners.

PitMix Apr 04, 2019 09:05 AM
Homeless Woman Sleeping in Neighborhood

They say the numbers are growing because housing is less affordable everywhere, especially for people that are just barely making it due to lack of education, medical, or drug problems.

a-1561017125 Apr 03, 2019 05:41 PM
Homeless Woman Sleeping in Neighborhood

That's great that you do outreach but seriously, if you guys do it that often why then are there so many homeless/vagrants and their numbers growing exponentially? Doesn't seem like outreach is working?

a-1561017125 Apr 03, 2019 04:09 PM
Homeless Woman Sleeping in Neighborhood

Frightening. Drug users in BART station, San Francisco. Tolerance is not the friend of drug abusers. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YQctLUab5Ks

a-1561017125 Apr 03, 2019 03:15 PM
Homeless Woman Sleeping in Neighborhood

Expect to hear more of this in the coming years (maybe even months/days). Look what is going on in SF. Regularly now you hear stories of people finding homeless sleeping in their unlocked cars, even pooping/peeing in them (which is a hazmat situation btw), one homeless guy keeps stealing cars to live in. Just check for yourself because that will be SB in no time. Cleanup crews who have to clean up their hazmat get paid lots of $$$ so SF actually is feeding the problem - same thing happening here.

Chip of SB Apr 03, 2019 01:29 PM
Homeless Woman Sleeping in Neighborhood

Using the term "homeless" is inaccurate and masks the real nature of the problem we are facing. Referring to someone as "homeless" implies their problem is a lack of a home, and for the vast majority of "homeless" people nothing could be further from the truth. We are not facing a "homeless" crisis, we are facing a drug addiction crisis! The people in our community living in filthy encampments and ranting and raving on the streets are not there because they lost their jobs and cannot pay their rent. They are there because they are struggling with drug addiction. These poor souls are literally withering away and dying in the streets. What is our response? We enable them to the greatest extent possible. Rather than intervening to break their cycle of addiction, we learn to ignore their suffering and we make sure they spend as little time as possible in jail when they act out. In order to help those suffering from drug addiction, we must intervene. This means imposing harsh prison sentences and developing programs to ensure addicts have the support they need to stay clean once they re-enter society. True love and compassion sometime requires being tough and aggressive. Calling those who are suffering from addiction "homeless" is simply avoiding the harsh reality of the problem as well as the response that is required from us to solve it. I hate to say it, but a wounded animal on the streets of Santa Barbara would receive more love and compassion than a man wounded by addiction.

Luvaduck Apr 04, 2019 12:05 PM
Homeless Woman Sleeping in Neighborhood

If the situation in jail/prison was such that it helped them recover from addiction, that would be the place to start. Most people can't afford facilities like Betty Ford Recovery and the rest that take in movie stars and sports players. Ironic since those are exactly the people who make drugs attractive to the young people who emulate them. I remember a marijuana bust in college: 5 boys, 3 from wealthy families: 3 went into rehab, 2 went to jail. No need to guess who had it on their record for the rest of their lives.

RHS Apr 04, 2019 10:19 AM
Homeless Woman Sleeping in Neighborhood

What nonsense. The "needy poor" are OK but everyone else (you make the call as to whom they are) deserves brutal "tough love". This tough love thing failed miserably a couple of decades ago. It is an awful way to raise children. It is a destructive way to address social problems--sort of like the idea that war will end the threats we face as a society. Most of the homeless people are simply unable to compete in our system. They are not that smart or have physical or psychiatric or emotional problems that keeps them out of the formal process of society. Some are addicted to drugs and end up on the margin because they spent whatever resources they had (including family ties) on addiction. But they are a normal and expected part of any society. It is how we handle this that differs--in the "sophisticated" affluent communities like SB the main reaction is to deny the legitimacy of their existence--the are "outsiders" and such. This is so comfortable as it means locals don't have to do anything charitable or "risky" and we can just push them out of town (or at least out of sight). What hypocrisy.

PitMix Apr 03, 2019 03:03 PM
Homeless Woman Sleeping in Neighborhood

What does a harsh prison sentence do at about $50K per year per prisoner? Really all you need to do is segregate the person for 30 days so they can go through withdrawal and at the end decide if they want to take advantage of the housing and work programs that are available to them. Assuming that those programs can actually be created. Take the $50K and spend it for rehabilitation- that's a much better and cost effective solution.

Flicka Apr 03, 2019 09:59 AM
Homeless Woman Sleeping in Neighborhood

Can't blame anyone for not wanting their yard used as a toilet. Maybe she needs a "chamber pot" to use and can empty it at a gas station. Long ago homes all had one for nighttime use when they had outhouses.

rwelsh Apr 03, 2019 09:12 AM
Homeless Woman Sleeping in Neighborhood

This jaw-dropping link will give you chills if you used to appreciate the Los Angeles area decades ago. Watching this live video (40,000 in LA), you would truly think that you are in Haiti or somewhere, except the homeless don't have such nice tents in Haiti. Relative to the population, we have the same issue, except it will get worse for us because they are coming up here. And they are having huge problems with hepatitus & Typhus (spread by fleas) in LA. Could we be inviting the same? Can you just see a flea issue in Montecito? HA!! Fast forward to 5:30, put your speed settings on 1.5 and enjoy. Turn sound off if you want. Its real. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=omUQFGLmOwc

a-1561017125 Apr 03, 2019 09:18 PM
Homeless Woman Sleeping in Neighborhood

RWELSH. Thanks for the link to that conservative vid rant showcasing loads and loads of L.A. bums and Hooverville type abodes. I'd really love to know how Republicans can blame overpopulation on Democrats. My fave part was the narrator saying "tooken" as the past tense of take. What a brainiac.

a-1561017125 Apr 03, 2019 05:22 PM
Homeless Woman Sleeping in Neighborhood

PITMIX: "All the fault?" You can't lay this at the feet of our current City Council. They inherited this horrendous problem. When Sheila Lodge was Mayor and ready to take a strong course of action, Gary Trudeau villified Santa Barbara in his Doonesbury comic strip, showcasing our "heartlessness" to the nation, to the point where Santa Barbara officials backed off big time. Maybe you don't remember: Trudeau publicized that our supermarkets were spraying their dumpsters with bleach, to prevent homeless from scavenging food. This condemning "news," coupled with similar urban myths, made our fine City look like a collection of merciless blackguards. This was back when the Fig Tree was the main encampment. Posthaste, Santa Barbara capitiulated to public opinion and the problem has escalated to where it is now. Actually, I am surprised it has taken this long for our "shelter challenged" and "transient" problem to become so rampant.

PitMix Apr 03, 2019 11:21 AM
Homeless Woman Sleeping in Neighborhood

Huge problems! Everywhere you look! All the fault of our current council!......Actually, we are good about responding to what looks like an emergency to our brains, so LA and San Diego have pretty much dealt with the hepatitis and typhus problems. As I've said before, based on population we should only be taking care of a few homeless people. We should be getting money from the State or Feds for the rest of them. Seems really crazy to me to expect locals to solve a national problem. Mr. Carbajal, Ms. Limon, Ms. Jackson, where are you when we need you?

monkeyboy Apr 03, 2019 09:10 AM
Homeless Woman Sleeping in Neighborhood

I'd suggest talking to her yourself. I think most of us would be surprised by how many people are living in cars in our neighborhoods. There is a woman that lives in a car near Peabody and many of the parents seem to know her and speak with her. There are periodically folks sleeping in my work parking lot when I get there and they always tidy up and leave not long after that. If she is making a mess, perhaps she can be directed to a location with public restrooms...

ZeroHawk Apr 03, 2019 09:09 AM
Homeless Woman Sleeping in Neighborhood

or be compassionate and offer her some help? just a crazy idea... maybe offer her a shower and a meal and see if she needs help finding help...we're all in this together.

a-1561017125 Apr 03, 2019 09:33 AM
Homeless Woman Sleeping in Neighborhood

I don't think we need to explain why we wouldn't invite someone we don't know, a stranger off the streets who appears unwell, into our private home with children. There are many services in town that cater just to this, which is what we were asking for.

a-1561017125 Apr 03, 2019 08:35 AM
Homeless Woman Sleeping in Neighborhood

PLEASE email the city council. The police can't do anything unless a crime is being committed, and courts have recently ruled that sleeping in one's car is not a crime. There is an anti-public urination/ defecation ordinance on the city's books, but don't expect the cops to do anything unless it's caught on video. Safe parking can outreach to her, but she can always refuse. In short, there is NO department of homeless services anywhere in this town or county that you can call to fix this.

a-1561017125 Apr 03, 2019 08:31 AM
Homeless Woman Sleeping in Neighborhood

I second the suggestion to email city council in fact, I think everytime someone even sees a homeless person and/or vagrant, we should send (1) a letter (2) an email and (3) make a phone call to city council in particular Murillo. Maybe then they will do something.

a-1561017125 Apr 03, 2019 04:29 PM
Homeless Woman Sleeping in Neighborhood

ZH... exactomundo. It's so easy to fall back on the wishful thinking about government being all powerful while at the same time paying lip service to the US Constitution. If citizens want the govt to round up and haul away all undesirables they had better pony up the cost and provide the legal structure with which to violate the undesirables' rights as human beings and citizens. And then pray they are not categorized the same way down the road a spell and treated the same.

ZeroHawk Apr 03, 2019 09:12 AM
Homeless Woman Sleeping in Neighborhood

wtf do you expect them to do? scoop them up and put them in homes? they are HOMELESS. they have no job, no place to go, no place to lay their heads or shower, or read a book in safety and comfort of a home. the state needs to do something, not our city council. they are not equipped or trained to handle a massive homeless population. i have met and helped many homeless in SBC, maybe if we all pitched in, it wouldn't be a "problem". Which brings up this, why is it a problem for YOU to see someone with less than you?

a-1561017125 Apr 03, 2019 08:29 AM
Homeless Woman Sleeping in Neighborhood

Reward this behavior and it will continue. Make it uncomfortable for her to stay there, she will leave. Simple. They did a welfare check on Elliot Roger - they are a joke.

a-1561017125 Apr 03, 2019 04:18 PM
Homeless Woman Sleeping in Neighborhood

Conflating an elderly homeless woman sleeping in her car with a young man with an oversize collection of guns and knives who had only recently assaulted his roomate is not the smartest way to make a cogent point. Are you concerned she's going to go on a rampage and mow down any and all attractive young men who might cross her path? See? It just invites ridicule.

SantaBarbaraObserver Apr 03, 2019 08:28 AM
Homeless Woman Sleeping in Neighborhood

Sell the house and move to a better neighborhood. Nothing is going to change in SB until SB changes its leadership and its misguided attempts at trying to equalize the imbalanced world... Just look towards SF for an example of how much worse things will get over the coming years until we the people put strong, capable leaders in office and demand action. Sad but true. Nothing will change until we change our city's managers and elected officials.

PitMix Apr 03, 2019 08:25 AM
Homeless Woman Sleeping in Neighborhood

Pretty common occurrence anywhere on the westside with available parking spots and some hedges to provide some privacy. I don't call on them unless I start seeing toilet paper and poop on the parkway. That's where I draw the line. Usually after the police come to check on them a few times they get the message and move.

a-1561017125 Apr 03, 2019 08:17 AM
Homeless Woman Sleeping in Neighborhood

A welfare check will result in nothing, she will end up staying there. You do not seem too worried, in fact rather laissez faire about the whole situation so, have fun!

a-1561017125 Apr 03, 2019 08:35 AM
Homeless Woman Sleeping in Neighborhood

OP here: "Laissez Faire" because we realize she is a human who is unwell. And it's difficult to talk to someone when they're peeing over a bush. But again, great feedback.

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