South County Non-Congregate Shelter Opens
A person sleeping outside the Apple Store at 928 State Street (Photo: Ken Baxter)
Source: Santa Barbara County Public Health Department
A non-congregate shelter has opened in the City of Santa Barbara for elderly and medically vulnerable persons experiencing homelessness who do not have the ability to practice physical distancing or self-isolate. The purpose of the shelter is to protect our most vulnerable community members. Persons experiencing homelessness are more likely to have complications from COVID-19 leading to hospitalization and intensive care.
A task force which includes County and community partners has been working with street outreach workers and service providers to identify persons currently living in emergency shelters and who are unsheltered. Prioritization will be applied using the following criteria:
• Persons who do not have a place to shelter, are 65 years of age and over with serious underlying medical conditions.
• Persons who do not have a place to shelter and are under 65 years of age with serious underlying medical conditions
• Persons who do not have a place to shelter and are 65 years of age or over.
Eligibility is verified through a review of medical records or an in-person evaluation, if necessary.
“The opening of this shelter site means that some of our most vulnerable community members will have a safe space to practice physical distancing and be protected from COVID-19 exposure” shared George Chapjian, Santa Barbara County’s Director of Community Services. “Our task force is committed to protecting the health and well-being of all people experiencing homelessness. Working collaboratively, we have taken an important step in slowing the spread of this virus in our community.”
For additional information about Emergency Shelter Operations during the COVID-19 pandemic, please call Community Services Department, Homeless Assistance Programs 805-560-1090.