Homelessness is a national crisis. The 2019 Point-in-Time Count, a nationwide count of persons experiencing homelessness, found 567,715 people living without a home. By US Census rankings, the homeless population would rank as the 32nd largest city in America.
Santa Barbara has not been immune to this humanitarian crisis. The number of persons experiencing homelessness in the City has averaged around 951 since 2011. Most recently, the 2019 Point-in-Time Count identified 887 homeless individuals living in Santa Barbara. The number of homeless individuals in the City far outpaces the number of existing shelter beds, transitional housing, or permanent supportive housing units available.
Led by its Community Development Department, the City supports various partners that work to help individuals experiencing homelessness.
What We Are Doing
- Human Services/CDBG Grants
The City's Human Services and Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) programs allocate approximately $1.4 million in grants to help support local nonprofit organizations that provide social services to low- and moderate-income City of Santa Barbara residents with an emphasis on programs that provide basic human needs. Click to learn more.
- People Assisting the Homeless (PATH) General Fund Grant
PATH Santa Barbara operates interim housing for adults experiencing homelessness in Santa Barbara. Focusing on the most vulnerable—veterans and chronically homeless—PATH provides access to 100 beds, personal hygiene resources, three meals per day, and supportive services to help clients stabilize and move to permanent housing.
Services include an on-site health clinic, mental healthcare, substance use counseling, housing location, and employment and benefits assistance.
From December to March, PATH adds up to 100 additional emergency shelter beds that are made available on nights when there is a chance of rain or temperatures are expected to drop below 40 degrees. The City grants PATH $202,100 annually to support operations.
- Tenant Based Rental Assistance
The City allocated $730,000 in 2019 to three local organizations—New Beginnings, Transition House, and the Housing Authority of the City of Santa Barbara—to provide rental assistance to low-income households in order to rent market-rate units. The City has been utilizing a portion of its annual federal HOME entitlement award to fund TBRA programs since 2012.
The HOME TBRA program operates similarly to the Section 8 Program. TBRA rental assistance grants may facilitate security deposit payments and/or monthly rental housing assistance for up to 24 months to low-income households, including homeless persons and those at imminent risk of becoming homeless.
Since 2012, TBRA assistance has been provided to more than 330 households.
- Daytime Safe Parking
The City contracted with New Beginnings to expand their nighttime Safe Parking program to provide daytime monitoring of parking spaces for individuals and families living in their cars. Created in response to the ordinance banning oversized-vehicle parking on City streets, this program minimizes the impacts to persons at risk of homelessness who live in oversized vehicles.
Over the past two-and-a-half years, the daytime safe parking program has provided a safe, legal daytime parking place for nearly 40 individuals and families. Of the individuals served, 14 were seniors over 62 years old, and 24 have at least one disabling condition. Additionally, nine of the individuals served are employed. Three of the senior individuals served obtained Section 8 vouchers and successfully found housing in Santa Barbara County. Five other individuals, including a family of three, have obtained permanent housing since the program’s inception.
- Home for Good
Federal regulations mandate the implementation of a countywide Coordinated Entry System (CES) among Continuum of Care fund recipients, whereby agencies that provide services to persons experiencing homelessness work together to ensure there is “no-wrong door” for accessing services. The City provided $50,000 in funding to the United Way of Northern Santa Barbara County’s Home for Good program, the coordinating agency of the local CES, to help support this initiative.
As the CES coordinating agency, Home for Good is responsible for
- standardizing the intake process to access services
- developing and maintaining a priority list of homeless individuals and families based on their level of vulnerability
- convening case conferences to match those individuals with housing and appropriate services
- coordinating the annual Point-in-Time Homeless Count
- SB ACT
In partnership with the Santa Barbara Foundation, the City contracted with the Santa Barbara Alliance for Community Transformation (SB ACT) to develop a Santa Barbara Homelessness Collaborative. SB ACT will facilitate coordination and mutual accountability among government agencies, key stakeholders, and nonprofit organizations that are engaged in responding to the homelessness crisis within the City of Santa Barbara.
- SB Connect Home (HEAP)
Santa Barbara Connect Home is a partnership of the City of Santa Barbara, CityNet, Cottage Health, and Santa Barbara Restorative Police. The program addresses the needs of the most vulnerable individuals experiencing homelessness and the highest utilizers of crisis services such as police, fire, ambulance services, and the emergency department. Clients are linked to coordinated case management and a mobile navigation center to ensure connection to housing, medical and support services. Click here to learn more.