By the City of Santa Barbara
For the first time ever, the City will have the presence of a homeless outreach team during the evening and weekend hours in the Downtown Corridor and along the Waterfront. The City will also be continuing its commitment to provide homeless outreach, case management, and housing navigation services throughout the entire City during weekday hours. On Tuesday, the City Council approved a new contract with City Net to provide these expanded services given their proven track record and responsiveness to both the needs of our unsheltered population as well as the concerns of residents, business owners and visitors.
City Councilman Mike Jordan said he was happy to see the expanded hours because it will fill a gap in service after hours. “I’m glad we are going where we are going today because the impacts don’t follow a normal workday, so I’m appreciative,” Councilman Jordan said. He also suggested that City staff review the program’s achievements at the six-month mark to decide on whether to expand the night and weekend hours to other areas of the City.
Councilman Eric Friedman also supported an early review of the program prior to expanding outreach locations.
“There are challenges throughout the City, and this action today is by no means minimizing those, it’s actually expanding a program to see how it works and then if we need to, we can evaluate on expanding it to other parts of town,” Councilman Friedman said.
Robin Elander, Executive Director of Downtown Organization, said she was pleased to see the expanded service levels. “This is an absolute critical service to enhance, not only services for individuals experiencing homelessness to get through the systems but to enhance the economic vitality of our beloved downtown district,” Elander said.
City Net has established relationships with local government agencies and nonprofit service providers supporting a collaborative approach that has yielded positive, measurable outcomes both throughout the county and with its efforts in Santa Barbara.
In Santa Barbara over the last year, City Net has assisted in permanently housing 22 individuals, enrolled 100 clients in case management, achieved 57 street exits, and made unduplicated outreach to 712 individuals.
The scope of services of the contract approved on Tuesday includes locating, identifying, and building relationships with unsheltered people to provide immediate support, intervention, de-escalation, and connections with homeless assistance programs, mainstream medical and mental/behavioral health and social services, and housing programs. In addition, the new contract includes evening and weekend street outreach from 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. along the Downtown and Waterfront areas from Thursday to Sunday.
The City has contracted with City Net since 2019 and issued a Request for Proposals (RFP) in late 2022 when that agreement was set to expire. Evenings and weekend hours were identified as an area of need and included in the RFP. City Net submitted a proposal meeting all criteria. The $450,000 agreement is for one year with an option to renew for a second year, using Permanent Local Housing Allocation funds.