Opinion: We Need to Help Our City and Homeless

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By Brian Campbell, District 2 City Council Candidate

I have strong concerns about public safety regarding children and families. Twice last year, Washington Elementary School went into lockout due to homeless men living in their cars in front of the school fighting, throwing bottles over the fence, and creating an unsafe environment on school grounds. Then several parents caught homeless men living in their cars across the street taking pictures of children playing on the soccer field. Two weeks ago at a house by the back entrance to the school, two individuals were lying in a driveway convulsing.

Neighbors have been expressing their concerns to the City for well over a year, about having these unknown people living right next to the school and La Mesa Park where children play.

After stating my concerns and possible solutions, such as not allowing people to park by schools between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. during school days or prohibiting loitering and parking within 500 feet of a school or park (like other cities do), the City said "NO."

When will the City take the lead and help the homeless get off the streets and away from our children and family neighborhoods? Over the last four decades, there have been several Homeless Committees and initiatives started by the City. 

In 2002, the City began writing the county-wide Bringing Our Community Home: 10 Year Plan to End Chronic Homelessness. They stated permanent supportive housing for those in dire need was the way to help end homelessness.  In 2011, there was C3H (Central Coast Collaborative to end Homelessness) where Mayor Murillo was the Vice-Chair of the Policy Committee.  Dinah Lockhart, Deputy Director of the County’s Housing and Community Division, stated, “What works is permanent housing for higher-needs homeless neighbors.”

So why is it that in Spring 2019 a local reporter wrote that this is the first year there will be a collaborative effort to end homelessness?

The City needs to take the lead and organize all the resources and organizations, they need to quarterback the homeless effort.  The City needs to create;

  • Temporary shelters to get them a place to sleep that is not downtown.
  • Parking lots, so they can park off the street with toilets and trash containers.
  • Storage, so they can leave their belongings someplace safe while they are at a shelter.
  • Central management of all resources: government and nonprofits.
  • We have the technology to broadcast to their cell phones so they know what resources are available (90% of homeless people have cell phones).
  • Once they're safe, they can receive regular help.
  • This will reduce the supportive costs the City and nonprofits are burdened with.


The government has forgotten we are all people, and that we need to work together as a team and as a community. We are not divided; we are supposed to be united. Together we can make differences that help our City. Let’s show the state, the country, the power of working together.

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SBTownie Oct 29, 2019 11:10 AM
Opinion: We Need to Help Our City and Homeless

Everyone who thinks homelessness is a cost of living issue needs to watch "Seattle Is Dying." It is a drugs/criminal justice (or lack thereof)/sometimes mentall illness issue... most of the mental illness being induced by addiction. How many people living on the streets here in SB are honest, hardworking people who truly just can't afford to live here? Probably 1 or 2. The rest are vagrants - bums, hobos - whatever you want to call them. They flock to the West Coast because of our liberal policies towards crime, homelessness, and drugs. Yes, we have some locals living in cars or RVs, too. My solution for them is to check out any of the numerous cities and towns inland in CA or in other states like Texas, Arizona, etc. where cost of living is more affordable. You do no get to live where you want just because you feel like it. Well, you can live there I guess. But don't expect the taxpayer to pay for it.

Chip of SB Oct 29, 2019 12:26 PM
Opinion: We Need to Help Our City and Homeless

You hit the nail on the head SBTOWNIE! So called "homelessness" is not a housing or a cost of living issue, it is almost entirely a drug problem. The "Seattle is Dying" documentary does a great job of explaining the nature of the problem and presents ways to deal with it. The true solution is to institutionalize the drug addicts, then rehabilitate them and help them transition back to living independently if possible. This is a humane and civilized way to handle the problem compared to the barbaric approach we are taking now of allowing the "homeless" to suffer and die on our streets. Unfortunately, I think the situation will get far worse before people will wake up and make the leadership changes necessary to address the underlying problem. Prepare for fires, social end economic decay, disease outbreaks, violent crime, and other public health crises. Once something happens that is sufficiently shocking and destructive, perhaps people will finally wake up and do what needs to be done.

a-1594351519 Oct 29, 2019 11:08 AM
Opinion: We Need to Help Our City and Homeless

Steep learning curve for an opportunistic person who's not been involved in any of the discussions about this in the past 30 years who suddenly bases his political platform on it. Better start brushing up on all those City Council videos posted on the City's website about budgets, and departments, and priorities - hint: it's not a football game.

hz Oct 29, 2019 10:47 AM
Opinion: We Need to Help Our City and Homeless

thousands of homes have been burned in recent fires...some of those people ended up homeless... aside from that..the Casa de La Raza building would make an excellent day center for homeless people.. close to downtown and not in a residential area ar close to schools. Offices for social workers, space for storage..set up showers and laundry facilities. Use it don't lose it...

pstarSR Oct 29, 2019 10:20 AM
Opinion: We Need to Help Our City and Homeless

we are conveniently ignoring the fact that cost of living causes a lot of homelessness. Treating the symptom(s) may not be the best idea. Treat the Cause(s). I know a few people living in their cars that are REASONABLE people. not a danger. Yet they cant get housing because of the cost of housing here, yet they work everyday. so again, sometimes its not as cut and dry as " homeless people want to be homeless". We have these charities, these shelters and food programs to make us feel better about the fact that in the end, our lifestyles have been allowed to explode in cost ( rents/ goods/ etc ). have sadly created a system that secludes and creates homelessness. With the silent judging statement behind everyones back "they are just drug addicts ". Yet most americans are 1 medical emergency, or 1 job loss away from being homeless.

a-1594351519 Oct 29, 2019 11:17 AM
Opinion: We Need to Help Our City and Homeless

Some people "conveniently" forget that the cost of living in Santa Barbara is much higher than they can afford. There's a price to pay for being in this exact location on the CA coast. If you manage to live here without begging, thieving (e.g. grocery carts), camping illegally on public property, then best you move on to someplace within your budget.

SBTownie Oct 29, 2019 11:06 AM
Opinion: We Need to Help Our City and Homeless

Cost of living does not cause homelessness in 95% of cases. 95% of the people on our streets are addicts and subsequently often mentally ill due to addiction.

CoastWatch Oct 29, 2019 10:20 AM
Opinion: We Need to Help Our City and Homeless

...Calling it a "Housing Issue" opens up cofer$ of taxpayer funds that help subsidize all the under the table and low wage employees of local restaurants and hotels... Places Barcara Ritz Carlton profits from us subsidizing their hundreds of low-wage workers- yet they charge $800.00 + a night for a room .

bosco Oct 29, 2019 09:58 AM
Opinion: We Need to Help Our City and Homeless

My two cents before this comment section goes off the rails. Locals with Mental illnesses and substance abuse problems need the communities help and need safe and reliable housing. Locals suffering from poverty and extreme situations need limited resources and half-way houses to get them back on their feet. First step, CLOSE THE SHELTERS. The rescue mission and others only provide overnight and act like a magnet for homeless people from all areas to congregate, lounge around, and wait for their free meal and bed. Spread housing across the county, make it illegal to camp, and give one way tickets to anyone sleeping in the street that is not local. Give people that need it permanent housing and make it illegal to be homeless in city limits.

PitMix Oct 29, 2019 10:10 AM
Opinion: We Need to Help Our City and Homeless

We give one-way tickets to Ventura to our homeless and Ventura gives one-way tickets to their homeless to come to SB. I think the numbers will not change with this approach.

Sam The Dog Oct 29, 2019 09:34 AM
Opinion: We Need to Help Our City and Homeless

This is a mental health and substance abuse problem. Unfortunately, local and state politicians call this an affordable housing problem because 1) their priority is getting re-elected and affordable housing resonates better with voters and 2) reforming how we handle mental health substance abuse issues is a) not easy and b) requires a major, long-term shift in how our state institutions address these issues. a) and b) are things no politician wants to take on because their priority is always getting re-elected or elected to a higher office. i.e. Murillo, who has made it clear her priority isn't making lasting improvements for Santa Barbara citizens buy padding her resume for future higher offices, and Newsom, who doesn't give two sh!t's about California's as he signs bill after bill that sound good when condensed to a one-line title for the press yet are extremely expensive and full of implementation issues.

a-1594351519 Oct 29, 2019 09:53 PM
Opinion: We Need to Help Our City and Homeless

Many studies have shown that housing should come first. After people have a home, more will work on getting a job and/or on addressing their mental health and/or addiction issues.

PitMix Oct 29, 2019 10:08 AM
Opinion: We Need to Help Our City and Homeless

I guess you are suggesting that we bring back the debtor prisons? Very expensive to incarcerate someone for a year. Maybe just give them the $50K directly and see what they do with it?

a-1594351519 Oct 29, 2019 09:26 AM
Opinion: We Need to Help Our City and Homeless

The homeless are not a local taxpayer funded issue! There are 250,000 homeless in CA, one-half of the country's entire total! Why are these people coming to one of the most expensive cities in the country? 33% of California's residents are on some form of taxpayer funded welfare, with several of those in our county! Some of the homeless are truly in need of help and some of them are nothing but lazy bums and need to get a job!

a-1594351519 Oct 29, 2019 09:49 PM
Opinion: We Need to Help Our City and Homeless

40% of the homeless people are from our area. Also, based on percentage of population, California does not have the highest number of homeless people.

PitMix Oct 29, 2019 09:22 AM
Opinion: We Need to Help Our City and Homeless

Hard to help people that don't really seem to want it. Those in the midst of drug addiction and mental illness crises are very hard to help. I still think that Santa Barbara should figure out what their share of the homeless population is, help that number, and then make sure the State and Feds chip in the money for all of the others that come here because of the weather and the kind people.

420722 Oct 29, 2019 09:20 AM
Opinion: We Need to Help Our City and Homeless

Why does this city need to “create” more space to accommodate homelessness? That will just enable more to come if we make it that easy and acceptable. I say, let’s find out which city they traveled here from, take them back and give that city the bill for the transportation.

a-1594351519 Oct 29, 2019 09:46 PM
Opinion: We Need to Help Our City and Homeless

Point in time counts of homeless people find that approximately 40% of them are from our area. Let’s house them, then worry about the out of town people.

CoastWatch Oct 29, 2019 09:17 AM
Opinion: We Need to Help Our City and Homeless

More than happy to help LOCAL "homeless" families... Not so much the traveling VAGRANTS who come here to take advantage of Santa Barbara's "Homeless Inc" opportunities... The City of Santa Barbara ALREADY spends more than $ 1 million a year towards "Homeless" programs... I will venture to guess that is more than ANY other municipality of 100,000 population.

a-1594351519 Oct 30, 2019 07:03 AM
Opinion: We Need to Help Our City and Homeless

Gee, where the heck does that $Million go? That’s rent for a LOT of people.....facetious question......I know it goes to “programs” and “staff” and very rarely to rent......

a-1594351519 Oct 29, 2019 09:15 AM
Opinion: We Need to Help Our City and Homeless

When are the homeless going to stop lighting arson fires? We reward drug addicted people who start fires that could make all of us homeless? Reward them for bad behavior. __Enable__ them to keep using drugs by providing free housing? A mistake.


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