Santa Barbara Expands Homeless Services Downtown

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Santa Barbara Expands Homeless Services Downtown
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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. 

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Gimli Jan 27, 2023 09:19 AM
Santa Barbara Expands Homeless Services Downtown

I myself was homeless due to economic reasons and I do know what it is like to try to survive out on the streets and dealing with the heavy drug users, severe alcoholics, the severe nutcases, and of course the ones who do not care, have no respect for those who work and reside here in SB. When I was homeless and told people my situation they just could not believe it. Why? Because the way I was dressed, the way I spoke and the way I behaved, like an everyday regular person. When I started to receive my monthly Social Security Disability Insurance of August, 2013 (now my regular Social Security) and still homeless I would go to my favorite Restaurants & Bars and I was welcomed by the owners and staff. One time when Frank Hotchkiss was on City Council he asked me to have a one on one meet with him, so I accepted to meet with Frank at his office at that time at City Hall. The first thing he said to me was, "You don't look homeless, you don't look homeless, you don't look homeless!!" I told him I do my best not too. Frank and I did get along very well. I really liked him but I did not always agree with what he said and his decision making on City Council (I also liked Dale Francisco. I miss him on City Council as well and we also got along very well). Frank Hotchkiss was a straight shooter, no BS on his part and that's what I liked about him and I gave him a lot of respect for it. So homeless will never come to an end here in SB or anywhere else in this country. Maybe in the 24th century it will and that is a long ways away.

Alexblue Jan 26, 2023 07:15 PM
Santa Barbara Expands Homeless Services Downtown

Yeah this is where I check any “progressive” politics at the door. Some people are so in the grip of addiction and or mental Illness that they simply can’t help
themselves. There is a core group of these unfortunates in every community and they suck up police and first responders and ER resources to the tune of millions per year. Pick them up, detain them for six months or more, treat them, train them, give them a shot wether they want it or not. Violation of civil rights? Sure, I’m fine with that. They relapse and back in the system, make it a year.

Alexblue Jan 27, 2023 08:48 AM
Santa Barbara Expands Homeless Services Downtown

OGSB, your friend can probably confirm, I heard a number, I believe it was something like six individuals being responsible for two million dollars in costs in a year.

They return to the street, they get drunk get high, get off medication, get stuck in mental health hell scape, they hurt themselves, put themselves at risk, over and over and over. At some point, civil rights have to take a back seat to safety.

OGSB Jan 26, 2023 07:27 PM
Santa Barbara Expands Homeless Services Downtown

Wow. I agree with Alex... I have a friend who is SBPD and is tasked with the homeless. All day every day. He is one of the most compassionate people I have ever met and helping the homeless is his wheelhouse. You should hear his stories about some of these people. It's hard to help people who don't want help. This doesn't apply to every homeless person of course, but the core group in town.

lovesbalot Jan 26, 2023 05:29 PM
Santa Barbara Expands Homeless Services Downtown

By housing people, we are saving our community hundreds of thousands of dollars each year in unpaid healthcare costs. In a 2006 article in the New Yorker, Malcolm Gladwell wrote of “Million-Dollar Murray,” relating how one person (Murray Barr) living on the streets in Reno, NV, cost that state $1 million in unpaid emergency department and medical costs.1 This $1 million could have been saved if Murray Barr had been supported by housing.1

According to a November article by Indy and Nick Welsh ,,"Based on still preliminary analysis, as many as 160 homeless people could have died in Santa Barbara County over the years 2019 and 2020. " It is hard to determine exactly according to county officials.

Moving people from homelessness into housing results in significant improvements in health and access to healthcare and is a sensible choice. So glad SB is doing this. Because it is sensible and compassionate choice.

a-1674787403 Jan 26, 2023 06:43 PM
Santa Barbara Expands Homeless Services Downtown

Thanks for this info. It’s hard sometimes to see all the money and effort going to help people who are (often) so resistant, and who *may* have been the cause of their own plight. But it costs way more to keep dealing with them otherwise. Just the sanitation efforts (cleaning up the mess they leave) is costly, and then you add police time, jail costs, medical costs. So even if you have no compassion whatsoever, it is better to help them than not.

AwareHuman Jan 26, 2023 05:17 PM
Santa Barbara Expands Homeless Services Downtown

SB needs a Navigation Center where social services are available, showers, a daily hot meal (donated by churches, & other groups/businesses, and MOST of all a communal setting (everyone needs such). SLO has impressively provided such in a rather small edifice...& They even provide laundry services on site...handled by a former addict/street denizen... Allowing him dignity, a paycheck and respect. If SLO can do this successfully, why can't SB? City Net gets a hefty amount, with less than stellar results. If there's a place for the homeless to store their stuff, they will do and feel better.. When dignity is kapoot trouble and mess are inevitable. Let's get a Navigation Center , and not just for a week!

OGSB Jan 26, 2023 07:32 PM
Santa Barbara Expands Homeless Services Downtown

Aware- If that's your passion and if that's others here's passion, get into it! It's all about your time and the money that you're willing to donate. Were you out counting the homeless? I was. Do you volunteer at the many homeless shelters or the rescue mission? I do. I'm at the point where I think it's pointless...

CoastWatch Jan 26, 2023 02:27 PM
Santa Barbara Expands Homeless Services Downtown

Nothing I said is untrue. The City of Santa Barbara, a municipality thats main fuction and responsibility is for public service (PD/FD), Water/Sewer, Roads and infrastructure under the roads (rotting water and sewer lines), and Parks... NOT SOCIAL WELFARE. That is filled by the State and now, the County. The City of Santa Barbara has spent at least 1.5 MILLION on Homeless INC for the last 35 years, and NOTHING has changed. Drug use is way up which creates people losing jobs, homes and families- The broken result is for all to see. The State has NO ANSWERS other than throw money at this epidemic. Unless there is FORCED Rehab, and after that, work programs / THEN housing, nothing will change.

CoastWatch Jan 26, 2023 08:51 AM
Santa Barbara Expands Homeless Services Downtown

Other Cities should send their vagrants to SB for the social services, food, foot massage's and if you wait long enough, an apartment in Santa Barbara, The American Riviera....

Thomas John Jan 26, 2023 06:36 PM
Santa Barbara Expands Homeless Services Downtown

Coast - I really wish we knew who you are. I'm guessing some old rich white dude on the upper east - or broke dude with a 20 year old pick up with some trump/pence bumper sticker.

sacjon Jan 26, 2023 01:58 PM
Santa Barbara Expands Homeless Services Downtown

ZERO - don't bother. Just typical selfish conservative thinking. Screw everyone else. All they need is some bootstraps and gumption and they can be rich too, right?

ZeroHawk Jan 26, 2023 01:48 PM
Santa Barbara Expands Homeless Services Downtown

you're out of line and obnoxious, Coast. You have a problem with people that have less than you do? In a country where banks and corporations are considered people and own thousands of vacant properties for money, while our own citizens go hungry and sleep on the street or in parks, the last thing we need is someone like you blowing a trumpet in the ears of the needy. I hope that you are never in a situation where you lose it all and are on the street. I'm really disgusted with your comment.

NostraChumash Jan 26, 2023 08:11 AM
Santa Barbara Expands Homeless Services Downtown

Please see to the kind lady who's been sleeping under the bus-bench at Castillo & Carrillo, for at least 3mos now...
She's not an addict or alcoholic.
She always needs an extra blanket, a sweater?..
I buy what I can, but i'm fixed income.

ZeroHawk Jan 26, 2023 01:50 PM
Santa Barbara Expands Homeless Services Downtown

Nostra, i see her everyday on my way home. the same blank, i give up, vacant stare in her eyes and it breaks my heart to see any one like this. i've given her food, cash, a few blankets in the past. she needs help and direction.

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