Nearly 4% Decrease in Homelessness Countywide

Nearly 4% Decrease in Homelessness Countywide title=
Nearly 4% Decrease in Homelessness Countywide
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By the County of Santa Barbara

Preliminary results of the 2023 Point in Time (PIT) Count of persons experiencing homelessness were released today. Conducted on January 25, 2023, by the Santa Maria/Santa Barbara County Continuum of Care (Continuum of Care), the Count is mandated by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and serves as a snapshot of homelessness in the county on a single night.

Countywide, 1,887 persons were counted representing a decrease of 3.7% in the number of persons experiencing homelessness.

The count includes 1,202 persons experiencing unsheltered homelessness and 685 persons living in emergency shelters or transitional housing.

More than 77% of persons surveyed during the count reported losing housing while living in Santa Barbara County.








Total Persons Counted Experiencing Homelessness

















The County Board of Supervisors, Continuum of Care and cities adopted a Community Action Plan to Address Homelessness in 2021. The Community Action Plan outlines key strategies and action steps. Following adoption, 140 shelter beds and over 800 opportunities for permanent housing have been added to the homelessness response system. 1,050 persons transitioned out of homelessness into permanent housing despite soaring rents and an extremely low rental vacancy rate in 2022. This significant achievement was made possible through the collaborative efforts of dedicated service providers. The county has made significant investments in shelter, housing and services including resolving 154 encampments.

Contributing to this success was the Emergency Housing Voucher (EHV) program. HUD provided a total of 272 long-term rental subsidy vouchers to the Housing Authority of the City of Santa Barbara and the Housing Authority of the County of Santa Barbara. The two housing authorities worked with the Continuum of Care and the County of Santa Barbara to successfully lease up all vouchers ending homelessness for hundreds of local families and individuals. Local program implementation has received national recognition for the efficient utilization of this valuable permanent housing resource.

“The Emergency Housing Voucher Program is helping families enter housing and end their homelessness. This program has been instrumental in the County of Santa Barbara's efforts to house vulnerable and chronically homeless residents across our communities. Largely as a result of prevention and housing efforts like vouchers, the 2023 Point in Time Count has shown a decrease in homelessness in the county,” said Continuum of Care Chairperson, Sylvia Barnard.

The table below provides total count data by city or area for the past three counts.


2023 Total

2022 Total

2020 Total









Santa Barbara




Isla Vista




Unincorporated South












Buellton/Solvang/Santa Ynez Valley




Santa Maria








Unincorporated North








This year’s point in time count identified the distribution of the population experiencing homelessness as 59% in south county (1,107 persons) and 41% in mid and north county (780 persons). The homeless population decreased over all, but increased in Carpinteria, Santa Maria, Santa Ynez Valley and Guadalupe.

Additional interim housing beds are under development. A public-private collaboration between Good Samaritan Shelters, Fighting Back Santa Maria Valley, Dignity Health’s Marian Regional Medical Center, DignityMoves and the County of Santa Barbara will construct and open Hope Village, an interim supportive housing community later this year.  It will add 94 new non-congregate shelter rooms in Santa Maria. 

“Hope Village is a necessary and temporary first step in addressing the homeless problem in the Santa Maria Valley.  The services, sanctuaries, and security needed for the unhoused will be present each day to ensure they can overcome their individual issues and move forward as a member of our community,” said Fourth District Supervisor Bob Nelson.

The Continuum of Care and County of Santa Barbara recruited more than 400 volunteers to assist at 5:00 a.m. to canvas 89 census tracts across the county. The methodology is in alignment with national best practices, relies on geographic coverage, and has remained consistent since 2019. A mobile application from Simtech Solutions provided real-time data to logistics centers from volunteers out canvasing and counting.

The Santa Maria/Santa Barbara County Continuum of Care promotes community-wide planning and strategic use of resources and programs targeted to people experiencing homelessness. The County of Santa Barbara serves as the lead agency and Administrative Entity for the Continuum of Care. The Santa Maria/Santa Barbara County Continuum of Care Board will receive the complete 2023 Point in Time Count report and presentation on May 4, 2023 at 2 p.m. via Zoom.

For additional details on the 2023 Point in Time report, contact Kimberlee Albers, Homeless Assistance Programs Manager at or (805) 695-6333.

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SBLetsGetAlong Mar 18, 2023 10:01 AM
Nearly 4% Decrease in Homelessness Countywide

10 yr trend. Homelessness up 28%
SB City alone has spent in excess of $100,000,000 on homelessness over that period.
Five “first time ever” county, City, stakeholder, first responder initiatives.
You gotta ask why they keep doing the same thing.
Because they haven’t got caught laundering the money yet. Corruption.
The “party of the people” only if you’re a “good old boy”.

edney Mar 17, 2023 08:33 PM
Nearly 4% Decrease in Homelessness Countywide


I'm glad you are still around to give us your opinion.
What do you personally need most? Free housing? If you have a substance use problem would rehab help or is it been there done that.... or maybe its something else? Help us understand how you got where you are and how it could have gone better for you?

edney Mar 17, 2023 12:22 PM
Nearly 4% Decrease in Homelessness Countywide

I think people fail up in both parties because people are too invested in their ideology to take a cold hard look at results. Let take Trump. Events in Ukraine Europe show us Trump was right to push Europe to wean itself off of Russian energy and to contribute more to their defense budgets. But Trumps style is confrontational and abrasive, it didn't happen. Trumps ego is huge and also hugely misguided and that poisoned relationship, citizens, and that is just covering his personality not his politics. I'll go to Newsom's politics because he is more personable than Trump. Newsom has repeatedly failed on homelessness, just look at the trend chart when he was in SF, look at the trend chart in CA while he has been Governor. Now put aside excuses and tortuous explanations and be honest and say Newsom hasn't done well on the homeless issue and has made some mistakes on some policies that didn't pan out. Newsom hasn't always led well on the issue. For example when Eric Garcetti, former LA mayor sunk $650,000 per unit on 1 bedroom housing, Newsom should have spoken up and led, saying "spending like that is not going to get this problem solved and we can't give you money no strings attached if you are going to spend it like this". I realize people try not to criticize people of their own party in public, but since the state of CA is predominately run by Democrats, he has to critique his own or he starts to own their behavior

edney Mar 17, 2023 11:52 AM
Nearly 4% Decrease in Homelessness Countywide

Sacjon have you never looked at a ten year graph chart with a trend line? That is a "big picture" chart. The big picture chart shows homelessness is still up 28% over the decade. Small picture within that chart is a very welcome drop of 4%. Hopefully the drop continues downward, but one or two drops does not make a trend.
On the counted numbers, The homeless population is acknowledged as containing "transients" when defined as follows: a person who is staying or working in a place for only a short time. Some homeless move on to different cities which is nice for Santa Barbara, which just decreases local numbers not statewide homelessness (I am assuming you care for all homeless regardless to where they bed down for the night). They are transient because they move from one encampment to another, or they may move off and start their own, they go to jail, they die younger than the rest of the population. In other words, by their nature, they can be hard to count, and when the County gives exact numbers we should realize they are counting a very fluid population. Another statistic that is muddled is who was a Santa Barbara resident and can actually be counted as someone who can't afford rent. It is not reasonable to calculate in a person that came here already addicted, unemployable, penniless from affordable San Bernardino or Tulsa, Oklahoma to expensive Santa Barbara. That would be a series poor choices, ones we want to help with, but we don't "owe" that person a lifetime of free apartment, free food, free drugs, free needles. Very liberal people tend to get upset if we ask the homeless where they attended elementary school, Jr High, High School, what year did you move here, from where where did you used to work here in Santa Barbara. Because those questions are not asked, we cannot determine who really was here and fell out due to high rent, from those who made a poor relocation choice.
Some homeless are very very hard to help. For example a guy I saw near a jobsite with a portable toilet staggered out of the bushes 7AM 10 yards from the toilet, dropped his pants in front of us, dropped a messy one and staggered back into the bushes. On another site guys working there said they had let people in the encampment use the toilet but the homeless pooped straight on the floor and in the urinal, clogging it and making the floor inside too filthy to walk into, so they had to lock it.
That behavior can't be fixed with cheaper rent. That needs drug and alcohol abstinence, rehab, life coaching, a job, supervision at the job, financial assistance, ongoing financial counseling and oversight, a free place to live until financially stable, ongoing drug and alcohol testing

sacjon Mar 17, 2023 01:48 PM
Nearly 4% Decrease in Homelessness Countywide

" liberal leadership in SB COUNTY didn't make MORE people homeless IN THE PAST YEAR. " - yes, exactly what I've been saying all along. Thanks for pointing that out again.


Voice of Reason Mar 17, 2023 01:39 PM
Nearly 4% Decrease in Homelessness Countywide

correction: liberal leadership in SB COUNTY didn't make MORE people homeless IN THE PAST YEAR. The trend over the past decade is that they DID make MORE people homeless.

sacjon Mar 17, 2023 12:58 PM
Nearly 4% Decrease in Homelessness Countywide

I didn't "celebrate" anything. I just wondered if that's why so many were mad about this - because liberal leadership in SB COUNTY didn't make MORE people homeless.

Dude..... you're really losing it here. You're arguing over a established fact and trying to make it about something else.

Go do something. It's St. Patrick's Day, it's Friday, go have fun. It kinda bums me out to see someone so angry and so hellbent on arguing over every little thing (despite it being VERIFIED FACT). You need a happy place. This isn't it.

sacjon Mar 17, 2023 12:55 PM
Nearly 4% Decrease in Homelessness Countywide

"comment that "liberal leadership IS making MORE people homeless"." - Not in the last year it's not, not in SB County. Well, now you're just lyin'

Voice of Reason Mar 17, 2023 12:32 PM
Nearly 4% Decrease in Homelessness Countywide

Definition of hypocrisy: Celebrating "leadership" for a single year 4% reduction in the face of a 28% increase over the decade and clear directional trend in one area (homelessness), but apply that same logic to climate change: a single year reduction vs. the trend over the past decade and you will see no such celebration but will see emphasis on the trend over the past decade. Hypocrisy.

Voice of Reason Mar 17, 2023 12:29 PM
Nearly 4% Decrease in Homelessness Countywide

Definition of grasping at straws: Celebrating a single year 4% reduction as a win for leadership in the face of 28% increase over a decade with the same leadership.

sacjon Mar 17, 2023 12:16 PM
Nearly 4% Decrease in Homelessness Countywide

EDNEY - yup! "within that chart is a very welcome drop of 4%" - which validates my comment that "liberal leadership is not making MORE people homeless." That's all I was saying and your con buddies have been losing it. Glad to see we all agree that this year, there are not MORE homeless people.

sacjon Mar 17, 2023 10:01 AM
Nearly 4% Decrease in Homelessness Countywide

FEWTILE - where's your evidence that is has not? I'm not buying a bridge from someone who just makes up "facts." That would be terrible bridge buying technique.

Shasta Guy Mar 17, 2023 09:19 AM
Nearly 4% Decrease in Homelessness Countywide

The Santa Barbara Rescue Mission needs five volunteers every night to serve meals to the homeless. You can be a talker or a doer. Here's where you can sign up.

It doesn't matter what you think about the mission of the Rescue Mission, it's about helping those in need. You can be the person who puts a plate of hot food in the hands of someone who might not have had any food all day.

Voice of Reason Mar 17, 2023 08:45 AM
Nearly 4% Decrease in Homelessness Countywide

As predicted, the state isn't going to change how they're tackling homelessness, they're just going to throw more money at it - the CA way! Over $15B over the next three years which Gavin says will reduce homelessness by a whopping 15%. I guess that's a more realistic goal then when he said he would "solve" homelessness in 10 years.... back in 2003, then again in 2008 when he had a new plan that would do it. But after all those failed promises/plans, he somehow go elected to higher office (failing up again) and NOW has a plan, that will cost considerably more than his prior failed plans while providing less of an anticipated reduction in homelessness. The grift is strong with this one and for some reason the people keep buying it.

montecito_matt Mar 17, 2023 08:13 AM
Nearly 4% Decrease in Homelessness Countywide

Another big win is the 101 shoulder revitalization, I applaud the work that Caltrans has done to clean up and heavy pruning of trees and shrubs along the shoulders of the 101 through town. It looks so much nicer than the overgrown jungles of the past that also turned into some encampments. Let's hope that this also saves lives and keeps pedestrians from getting hit on the highway as we have seen.

NotReallyDave Mar 16, 2023 10:34 PM
Nearly 4% Decrease in Homelessness Countywide

Remember that for every homeless person in California, there are 15 "unauthorized" immigrants in California. One can see how there is no "home" to go to.

SBLetsGetAlong Mar 18, 2023 09:56 AM
Nearly 4% Decrease in Homelessness Countywide

Question: who decides what laws are ok to “ignore”.
Crossing the border “illegally”. Guess it depends upon your skin color if it’s illegal or not.
Can Europeans come over without getting a visa? No.
Who decides when public defacation & drug use is now legal, only for some people.
Can I get free money & take a leak on the street after going to the Bowl?
Double standards, known as discrimination.
If the law is not a law then repeal it. Otherwise enforce them.

SBLetsGetAlong Mar 18, 2023 09:54 AM
Nearly 4% Decrease in Homelessness Countywide

As to illegal migrants contributing to society. Do they pay taxes? No
Do they get free healthcare & education, yes.
So how are they contributing to society? Because they do the jobs that Americans are too lazy or good to do?

And over 40% of CA Ag is sold overseas. So who’s profiting from the work from illegal migrants? Not tax payers. Who’s paying for illegal migrants free healthcare & education, tax payers.

And who is using all our water? Ag. To sell almost half overseas. CA residents have to suffer from droughts so a small segment can make a profit. That’s why I have higher water bills and am told to reduce my water use?

Seriously messed up

Alexblue Mar 17, 2023 01:57 PM
Nearly 4% Decrease in Homelessness Countywide

VOR--meh, SBSTONER and others always yammering about the "takers" and the "makers" as if people who don't share their political beliefs are all parasites or a drag on the system.

Bunch of victim claimers.

Alexblue Mar 17, 2023 01:55 PM
Nearly 4% Decrease in Homelessness Countywide

You said that migrant laborers contribute in a way that people on this thread don't, my point is that you have no idea how people on this thread contribute to the economy.

I say what I want "bro." You don't like it, don't respond.

SBStoner Mar 17, 2023 12:57 PM
Nearly 4% Decrease in Homelessness Countywide

Alex - Great for you bud. We are talking about the backbone of our agricultural production here though, not the pennies you’ve put in.

Most people I know who would pay that level of tax wouldn’t be needing to say so on Edhat, “bro.”

As VOR said, weird flex but ok.

a-1679074305 Mar 17, 2023 10:31 AM
Nearly 4% Decrease in Homelessness Countywide

You're obviously well off... bragging about your property with property tax in the six figures, of course you had to say that. If you are complaining about this county's policies, why are you living here?

bosco Mar 16, 2023 04:37 PM
Nearly 4% Decrease in Homelessness Countywide

I wonder how much of that has to do with weather. It's been a rough year. Certainly, wet enough to encourage many to find alternatives to the outside. They should run this survey in the middle of summer.

SBLetsGetAlong Mar 16, 2023 03:08 PM
Nearly 4% Decrease in Homelessness Countywide

What a joke the headline.
Homelessness is up over 10% over the last decade.
Sensationalizing something that in reality is an upward trend over the decade.
2013 PIT 1,466
2017 PIT 1860
2015 PIT 1455
2023 PIT 1,887
But hey whatever makes you feel good about seeing the homeless left to wander the streets looking for food, clothing, liquor, drugs.
CA is the land of the free range homeless.
Don’t touch em, don’t help em, don’t point them out, let them be in their natural environment to fend for themselves.
Gotta love the “party of the people”

See the trend, going up. See the trend, no progress from government to help the humanitarian crisis. Just finger pointing.
And they celebrate a 4% reduction from last year.

Voice of Reason Mar 17, 2023 08:29 AM
Nearly 4% Decrease in Homelessness Countywide

GT, you okay? "We have a local article with a little glimmer of good news in it and you bring national politics into the matter and start slinging insults." I mean, I can read, both the comments and the time stamps, so this comment is just more of your typical projecting. Seriously, the rant going back to GW and Iraq? Just ignore that it was a very bipartisan effort and I've made my anti-war feelings very clear here, and unlike you're anti-war feelings, mine don't change based on which party is in the white house.

GeneralTree Mar 16, 2023 06:24 PM
Nearly 4% Decrease in Homelessness Countywide

VOR - the what about came from you. We have a local article with a little glimmer of good news in it and you bring national politics into the matter and start slinging insults. The fact is the red states slurp up that federal money and taking that assistance - and then their repuglican citizens bitch about big government spending. Pack 40 million people in Mississippi and then tell me if they have a homeless problem. It isn't rocket science. If Republican economic policies are so great for America - then how come 9 out of the 10 poorest states are red states?

Voice of Reason Mar 16, 2023 04:17 PM
Nearly 4% Decrease in Homelessness Countywide

GT whatabout whatabout whatabout, sorry Sacjon is slacking these days so I figured I'd jump in with his usual retort. I don't know what red's states spend or do to address this problem, but maybe we should look to them as and see what they're doing, seeing as we have 50% of our nations homeless and on a state level, doesn't show any signs of improving.

GeneralTree Mar 16, 2023 08:23 PM
Nearly 4% Decrease in Homelessness Countywide

Maybe we could have used some of this money on the homeless situation in our country... GW and the repugs really wanted that war - so much so they invented the intelligence to justify it.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - From an empowered Iran and eroded U.S. influence to the cost of keeping U.S. troops in Iraq and Syria to combat Islamic State fighters, the United States still contends with the consequences of invading Iraq 20 years ago, current and former officials say.

Then-U.S. President George W. Bush's 2003 decision to oust Saddam Hussein by force, the way limited U.S. troop numbers enabled ethnic strife and the eventual 2011 U.S. pullout have all greatly complicated U.S. policy in the Middle East, they said.

The end of Saddam's minority Sunni rule and replacement with a Shi'ite majority government in Iraq freed Iran to deepen its influence across the Levant, especially in Syria, where Iranian forces and Shi'ite militias helped Bashar al-Assad crush a Sunni uprising and stay in power.

The 2011 withdrawal of the U.S. troops from Iraq left a vacuum that Islamic State (ISIS) militants filled, seizing roughly a third of Iraq and Syria and fanning fears among Gulf Arab states that they could not rely on the United States.

Having withdrawn, former U.S. President Barack Obama in 2014 sent troops back to Iraq, where about 2,500 remain, and in 2015 he deployed to Syria, where about 900 troops are on the ground. U.S. forces in both countries combat Islamic State militants, who are also active from North Africa to Afghanistan.

"Our inability, unwillingness, to put the hammer down in terms of security in the country allowed chaos to ensue, which gave rise to ISIS," said former deputy secretary of state Richard Armitage, faulting the U.S. failure to secure Iraq.

Armitage, who served under Republican Bush when the United States invaded Iraq, said the U.S. invasion "might be as big a strategic error" as Hitler's invasion of the Soviet Union in 1941, which helped bring about Germany's World War Two defeat.


The costs of U.S. involvement in Iraq and Syria are massive.

According to estimates published this week by the "Costs of War" project at Brown University, the U.S. price tag to date for the wars in Iraq and Syria comes to $1.79 trillion, including Pentagon and State Department spending, veterans' care and the interest on debt financing the conflicts. Including projected veterans' care through 2050, this rises to $2.89 trillion.

The project puts U.S. military deaths in Iraq and Syria over the past 20 years at 4,599 and estimates total deaths, including Iraqi and Syrian civilians, military, police, opposition fighters, media and others at 550,000 to 584,000. This includes only those killed as a direct result of war but not estimated indirect deaths from disease, displacement or starvation.

U.S. credibility also suffered from Bush's decision to invade based on bogus, exaggerated and ultimately erroneous intelligence about Iraqi weapons of mass destruction (WMD).

John Bolton, a war advocate who served under Bush, said even though Washington made mistakes - by failing to deploy enough troops and administering Iraq instead of quickly handing over to Iraqis - he believed removing Saddam justified the costs.

GeneralTree Mar 16, 2023 07:15 PM
Nearly 4% Decrease in Homelessness Countywide

Red states fall 1.5 percentage points below the national average for high school completion rate (84.2% vs. 85.7%), and 3.3 percentage points below the national average for college degree attainment (25.1% vs. 28.4%).

Blue states, in comparison, perform slightly above the national averages—by 0.8 and 2 percentage points, respectively.

Voice of Reason Mar 16, 2023 03:19 PM
Nearly 4% Decrease in Homelessness Countywide

CA is spending several BILLION dollars a year on homelessness... only for the problem to get worse. Unfortunately, they take the same approach they do with our public education system: poor results = it's just needs more money! No, it couldn't possibly HOW we're doing things, no way, the problem is we need more money to do more of the same things (that aren't working). Idiocracy at it's finest.


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