Sleeping Bag Drive for Those Experiencing Homelessness

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Source: Santa Barbara County

More than 1,800 people are experiencing homelessness in Santa Barbara County. To help these individuals and families stay warm this winter, the Santa Barbara County Public Defender’s Office is accepting donations of sleeping bags, hats, gloves, jackets, clothing, socks, shoes, hygiene products, thermal underwear, scarves and backpacks. 

New or lightly used donations are being accepted until Dec. 11 during regular business hours at the Public Defender’s offices in

  • Santa Barbara: 1100 Anacapa Street

  • Santa Maria: 312-P East Cook Street, Building

Financial donations will also be accepted for the purchase of new sleeping bags and undergarments that are tax deductible through the Public Defender’s partnerships with checks made out to Family Service Agency of Santa Barbara County or Americorps. Donations can also be made online at www.fsacares.org, where donors should specify that it’s for the sleeping bag drive.

In order to receive donated goods, those experiencing homelessness will need to attend the distribution event on Friday, December 13 from noon to 2 p.m. or until supplies last at each office of the Public Defender.

For more information, contact the County Public Defender’s office. In Santa Barbara, call (805) 568-3470; in Santa Maria, call (805) 346-7500.

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CoastWatch Nov 17, 2019 07:22 AM
Sleeping Bag Drive for Those Experiencing Homelessness

This just condones public outdoor sleeping otherwise known back in the day as vagrancy. If my family and I decided to set up a tent Friday after work and set up a tent and sleeping bags for the weekend, we would be fined and prosecuted to what ever the extent of the law is... and that is a fact. If some vagrant(s) do the same, everyone looks the other way...F##K that. I am DONE with the double standard BS regarding vargrant issues in this County / State.

yacht rocked Nov 17, 2019 07:24 AM
Sleeping Bag Drive for Those Experiencing Homelessness

Seems ironic that the public defender's office encourages and enables homeless folk to camp around SB, resulting in a pipeline of misbehaving homeless clients to be defended, and your contribution is tax deductible.

CoralineJones Nov 17, 2019 08:00 AM
Sleeping Bag Drive for Those Experiencing Homelessness

Love the choice of words "experiencing homelessness'. What else do you folks expect from the public defenders office? They defend the worst of the worst. This is just enabling and increasing the problem. Instead of handing them sleeping bags why don't they do something more proactive to end this problem rather than increase it?

Roger Nov 17, 2019 08:19 AM
Sleeping Bag Drive for Those Experiencing Homelessness

I was defended by the public defender in 1980 the public defender defends poor people the worst of the worst you say you must not have a heart that would be the worst thing to me. Not all homeless people are criminals most of them are just poor really it's not their choice to live outside especially in the Winter they just cannot afford a place anywhere not just here. I'm glad someone is doing this in a bigger way...That is a great idea COASTWATCH you should all camp on East Beach take a month or two out of your lives and go camping experience homelessness for yourselves get all that so call free stuff your always talking about don't cheat though don't take much money with you this way you can experience how wonderful it is to be truly homeless...

comment1 Nov 17, 2019 08:31 AM
Sleeping Bag Drive for Those Experiencing Homelessness

Thank you, Roger, for your common sense answer. My son was defended by the public defender, and I will tell you that my son is not "the worst of the worst", but has gone on to do great things in his life. In fact my son did go live with the homeless for a project when he was in college. That experience gave him great insight in how to help.

a-1574008510 Nov 17, 2019 08:35 AM
Sleeping Bag Drive for Those Experiencing Homelessness

When someone says they defend the "worst of the worst" it doesn't mean everyone they defend is the "worst" so chill out. I can tell you stories of people the PD defended - people you would want in jail and out of society and thanks to them, they are not. I'm talking about wife beaters, child molesters, and the like. Sure everyone deserves a defense - I guess - but some people don't as far as I'm concerned. And I've seen them defend those types who you would want put through a wood chipper. So don't be so emotional. It's a fact that this enables the problem and makes it more comfortable for them so they don't seek the help they need to get off the street.

a-1574009549 Nov 17, 2019 08:52 AM
Sleeping Bag Drive for Those Experiencing Homelessness

COMMENT 1 I'm doing plenty. I don't give them money, if anything food. If I have the chance to speak to them I try to encourage them to get help I don't have financial means to force through a law that requires involuntary commitment but would if I could - what are YOU doing except attacking people who provide constructive criticism?

jqb Nov 17, 2019 09:44 AM
Sleeping Bag Drive for Those Experiencing Homelessness

The people who whine about "innocent until proven guilty" when it comes to Trump or Kavanaugh have no such scruples when it comes to the poor. This is sociopathy and a deep abiding intellectual dishonesty.

SantaBarbaraObserver Nov 17, 2019 08:34 AM
Sleeping Bag Drive for Those Experiencing Homelessness

This was probably done with the best intentions but it was obviously not thought through. The County Public Defender's office should not be involved in these issues or these types of drives. They are supposed to be non-political and as such should keep out of any and all political and social issues as a department.--------------------------------------- PDs are grossly underfunded and severely over worked and their lack of funding and resources are a direct cause of downfall for many people who are unwittingly fighting an accusation or a crime. ----------------------------------------------- Where would their good intentions be better served? I'd say by bringing much more attention to the sad fact that these hard working people at the PD office are abused and over used by the politicians that oversee their budgets. --------------------------------------- IMHO donating legal aide to the people who are stuck in the cracks of our community would help far more than a few sleeping bags. ----------------------------------------------- When the difference between someone's future and freedom in our society is based on ability to pay an attorney to defend themselves, we are missing the true cause of many people's plight who find themselves homeless. These people do not have $5000 for a retainer, let alone the funds to pay a small fine. So they are pushed deeper and deeper into the hole. ----------------------------------------- We all know that most lawyers are awful people, but Public Defenders are not. They ARE the good ones. In fact they are about as close to angels as you can find in the messed up world of our justice system. So I would rather donate $ for legal aide specifically for the homeless. But rather than either, of these token donations, I want our politicians to fund these departments fully so they can actually do their duty and help the downtrodden and the poor fight for freedom.

SantaBarbaraObserver Nov 17, 2019 08:59 AM
Sleeping Bag Drive for Those Experiencing Homelessness

The ignorance of the law and the ideals that frame our nation in this comment is astounding but not surprising. We have failed to educate our people and the results are quite telling with comments like this one... I pity you and as my grandma used to say, 'bless your heart, you poor soul"...

a-1574095189 Nov 18, 2019 08:39 AM
Sleeping Bag Drive for Those Experiencing Homelessness

SB Observer I happen to be an attorney in town and am well versed in the law - probably way more than you are judging by your comments, and the PD does get people off - regardless of whether or not everyone deserves a defense which is how they justify putting horrid people back out on the streets - they are overly focused on that. Sometimes, regardless, someone needs to be put away. The needs of the many must trump those of the few. So maybe you are the one who isn't as educated as you like to think you are. Get off your high horse for once and learn something.

a-1574095190 Nov 18, 2019 08:39 AM
Sleeping Bag Drive for Those Experiencing Homelessness

SB Observer I happen to be an attorney in town and am well versed in the law - probably way more than you are judging by your comments, and the PD does get people off - regardless of whether or not everyone deserves a defense which is how they justify putting horrid people back out on the streets - they are overly focused on that. Sometimes, regardless, someone needs to be put away. The needs of the many must trump those of the few. So maybe you are the one who isn't as educated as you like to think you are. Get off your high horse for once and learn something.

SantaBarbaraObserver Nov 18, 2019 09:57 AM
Sleeping Bag Drive for Those Experiencing Homelessness

re: Nov 18, 2019 08:39 ;;;; Well counselor, based on your cursory and wholly inaccurate summary of my comment, I can now assume that you too are among the ranks of terrible lawyers who call SB home. Why? Because you conflated someone else's comments for mine and then hopped on that soap box that so many of your fellow lawyers love to stand upon to rain their righteous indignation onto anyone within earshot... So thank you for proving that most attorneys suck. Maybe next time read more carefully so you wont come across as such.... If you had read my words more carefully you would have learned of my disdain for the current state of funding and resources for PD offices across the land and how this, causes untold harm to the poor of our nation. Case loads are the problem, not the duty to defend the accused, regardless of the crime. The lack of equal justice and legal support for the poor is a crime against humanity and an affront to American ideals. If I were you, I'd get back to work, for every 6mins you spend here takes away from your required billing. I am sure your partners will not be pleased with any time spent on anything that isnt billed...

Shasta Guy Nov 17, 2019 08:42 AM
Sleeping Bag Drive for Those Experiencing Homelessness

I am always conflicted here. Since they are already going to be sleeping outside anyway then let’s give them what they need to be warmer. Yet, doing so enables the lifestyle that blights our community. Compassion vs law and order, it’s like a bipolar disorder. We give in ways that don’t entail direct cash that could be used for addictions.

lovesbalot Nov 17, 2019 08:48 AM
Sleeping Bag Drive for Those Experiencing Homelessness

I see no conflict in the Public Defender's reaching out to help the homeless. We need more of this compassionate mindset. There but for fortune go you and I. So many homeless have died in our community because they are freezing at night. Let's find compassion and get some sleeping bags over to the PD. With the high cost of living in SB many are homeless. And some just a paycheck away from it.

a-1574009684 Nov 17, 2019 08:54 AM
Sleeping Bag Drive for Those Experiencing Homelessness

In my book this does a great disservice to some of these homeless - especially the addicts. Anyone who's had a family member or friend who was an addict - whether alcohol or drugs - knows the worst thing you can do is make life comfortable for them while they continue in their ways, i.e. enabling them. They'd be better rounding them up and forcing them into a shelter even if against their will. But this is just enabling. IS the PD's office lobbying for law changes to allow us to forcefully take them off the street and get them treatment?

a-1574059710 Nov 17, 2019 10:48 PM
Sleeping Bag Drive for Those Experiencing Homelessness

A sleeping bag is not “making life comfortable”. It is keeping someone from dying. And, no, you cannot “round people up against their will”. Try reading the constitution sometime.

d8vanilla Nov 17, 2019 09:06 AM
Sleeping Bag Drive for Those Experiencing Homelessness

They'll probably just turn around and sell them for a buck, so they can buy their booze, cigs or drugs. Then, they will try and get another freebie.....and do the same thing.

lovesbalot Nov 17, 2019 09:47 AM
Sleeping Bag Drive for Those Experiencing Homelessness

Many of those afflicted or addicted are veterans who fought in ugly wars, got PTSD. No matter how someone got to be homeless does not diminish their basic need for warmth. Those of you who feels this is enabling sound overindulged with a compassion deficit that urgently needs treatment. Hopefully the spirit of the holidays will motivate you out of cognitive dissonance to some civilized action for your neighbors on the street.

RHS Nov 17, 2019 10:13 AM
Sleeping Bag Drive for Those Experiencing Homelessness

This may be the worst comments section in the history of Edhat. Such anger and lack of empathy and such tropes of misinformation and right wing ideology. How to respond. Here's a couple: Public Defenders do not represent homeless people in most of the "homeless" crimes charged against them as these are almost always "infractions" which do not qualify for the appointment of counsel. You do not encourage starvation by feeding the hungry. If you give a sleeping bag to a homeless person they will not sell it and if they did it would be "sold" (traded) to another homeless person needing it. Homelessness is increasing around the nation to unprecedented levels. Read today's LA Times for a discouraging but thorough discussion of the problem. Millions of homeless people cannot all be just lazy bums. So sad to see the denial and finger pointing in lieu of actual social responses to fellow humans.

a-1574027646 Nov 17, 2019 01:54 PM
Sleeping Bag Drive for Those Experiencing Homelessness

So, you'd rather the homeless be cold, hungry, and kept in their place? That's not very nice. Some people feel that the homeless should be "shooshed" away and forgotten, while they themselves have three squares, cocktails, and dessert. Happy Thanksgiving to the "haves" is the order of the day, and forget about the "have nots." Better to be an abused and abandoned dog in this wealthy town. Sheesh!

a-1574035116 Nov 17, 2019 03:58 PM
Sleeping Bag Drive for Those Experiencing Homelessness

Those of us who have "three squares" and so on work our asses off to do so. We pay our taxes, we get up and go to work when we'd rather play, we keep ourselves on track. We don't look to others to pick up our slack. Our "fortune," as one commenter put it (There but for fortune, whatever) comes from us putting in the time and effort to afford to live here. We said "No" to drugs, we kept our alcohol consumption within manageable parameters. We strove to keep our brains undamaged. Maybe we didn't have the best upbringing, maybe we didn't get all the breaks in life, but we didn't grow up expecting others to take care of us either.

a-1574069924 Nov 18, 2019 01:38 AM
Sleeping Bag Drive for Those Experiencing Homelessness

Many that I know had a safety/support net of family in SB. That's why I stayed. I worked too, but may not have made it without family support and occasional monetary help over the decades. I knew I'd never be homeless.

a-1574016289 Nov 17, 2019 10:44 AM
Sleeping Bag Drive for Those Experiencing Homelessness

Soft toothbrushes with covers for the bristles; most requested item is socks; gloves and mittens. You can give without getting into the sleeping bag controversy with yourself.

ParvoPup Nov 17, 2019 05:55 PM
Sleeping Bag Drive for Those Experiencing Homelessness

Homeless because you were burnt out of your house? I'll help.
Homeless because you were bankrupted by our health care system? I'll help.
Homeless due to job loss, death, accident, etc. I'll help.
Homeless because you are some bum only aspiring to get drunk, get high or just be a leach on the rest of us - screw you.

a-1574044495 Nov 17, 2019 06:34 PM
Sleeping Bag Drive for Those Experiencing Homelessness

Upon reading this my first instinct is to help, to get rid of some sleeping bags that I have that are in great condition but I don't use, to donate blankets and some other warm clothing items I have that I'm not using, to help. I have a daughter who is in her early twenties and is choosing to be homeless here in Santa Barbara. She is healthy, intelligent and able-bodied and could work a full-time job if she chose but she chooses not to, she is embracing the homeless life even though she's miserable. She is actively choosing not to work a full-time job and because of it she cannot take care of herself. I am not going to enable anyone, not her, nor anybody else. I get up every day and go to work at a full-time job that I do not always enjoy but it pays my bills and buys my food and keeps a roof over my head. I did that for her and the fact that she's too uninterested in doing that for herself really upsets me to my core. yes, some of the people who are on the streets can't help it, they have mental illness or PTSD but there are also healthy and capable adults who are choosing this life. Is it our responsibility to rescue them? No, but we should help those that really truly need it by getting them medical care and housing. The ones choosing this life need to help themselves!!

Shasta Guy Nov 17, 2019 07:00 PM
Sleeping Bag Drive for Those Experiencing Homelessness

I’m so sorry to hear that. It must break your heart everyday. I hope and pray that she can muster up the strength to choose to walk away from that lifestyle while she still has options available to her.

a-1574047440 Nov 17, 2019 07:24 PM
Sleeping Bag Drive for Those Experiencing Homelessness

It does, I can't be happy in anything good in my life because I feel constant worry. I'm helpless in regards to her. Ironically helping, like what's requested here, is NO help. Our beautiful city is too easy to be homeless in...

a-1574050781 Nov 17, 2019 08:19 PM
Sleeping Bag Drive for Those Experiencing Homelessness

Never reward bad behavior! She will come to her senses when she thinks you truly don't care what she does. Usually there is an underlying issue she may not be able to express yet. Just let her know no matter what she is still loved even if you do not approve. I thought I knew it all at the age too. For now I shall pray she stays safe and returns home a lot wiser than when she left...

a-1574057885 Nov 17, 2019 10:18 PM
Sleeping Bag Drive for Those Experiencing Homelessness

I talk to a lot of homeless around town and pretty much all of them do not want to be sheltered/do not want to live by rules of society or they say they applied for services but that they've been waitlisted for a long time. Why are they waiting for others do something for them. One thing I learned in life is to never rely on someone else expect others to do for things for you and that one owes me anything. I'm not advocating for, nor am I here to get into arguments about illegal immigration, but how is it possible for immigrants to come here from Mexico with no education, no knowledge in the English language, work low paying jobs and still make something of themselves. I know plenty of people who came here with nothing, grew up poorer than dirt, sent money back to their families. Now they are living comfortable lives here, some are even homeowners, with no handouts. I find it hard to believe American born individuals with at least highschool educations and the ability to speak English cannot make something of themselves. Obviously there are those who fall on bad times and need the help to get back on their feet. They usually do not remain homeless. Then there are those who are mentally ill and people's who's brains are fried beyond repair from drug use. They need to be institutionalized as they cannot take care of themselves. This isn't "right wing" or "left wing" ideology. This is just common sense.

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