Wednesday, November 25 , 2015, 12:50 am | Fair 54º

WillBridge of Santa Barbara Invites Community to Annual Fundraiser

By Gloria Regan for WillBridge of Santa Barbara |

WillBridge of Santa Barbara invites the community to its ninth annual fundraiser from 6 to 8:30 p.m. Monday, Dec. 3 at First United Methodist Church, featuring State Street Ballet dancers and Marymount Soul.

The event will feature light hors d’oeuvres, beverages and desserts, and a large silent auction. Bidding will begin at 6 p.m.

The cost is $30 for individuals, $50 per couple and $90 for a group of four.

Pre-register or pay at the door. Mail registration to 2904 State St., Suite A, Santa Barbara, CA 93105.

WillBridge serves the greater South Santa Barbara County. It is mission driven and serves the community with three residences providing transitional and permanent supportive housing.

WillBridge provides an environment that is safe, caring, practical and cost effective. It mobilizes significant resources needed that many homeless people do not know exist or cannot get to on their own. WillBridge believes serving the homeless is for the common good of the community.

WillBridge is 9 years old and continues to expand the needed housing for homeless people. It latest is State Street Suites. WillBridge started State Street Suites utilizing its past experience and success in providing permanent supportive and transitional housing.

“In spite of the homeless challenge each person faces entering State Street Suites, they also meet a non-negotiable strict eligibility criteria that needs to be considered in order to be accepted into this specialized program,” founder and Executive Officer Lynnelle Williams said.

Each resident has a private studio-style-unit allowing space for each to develop and grow, breaking their cycle of homelessness to one of opportunity.

State Street Suites established the importance of “housing” for people wanting to continue their personal and professional development through psychological and spiritual growth. Each person living at State Street Suites must attend school or be employed. Three residents finished a year at Santa Barbara City College, with grade point averages of 3.28, 3.5 and 4.0. This helps give them an opportunity to move back into the community with confidence and stability creating a desire to “Live and be Seen.”

Some people think homelessness defines all homeless people. Each person has a story. One person may be a misplaced homemaker; another may have no resources to fall back on (family, etc.), while a large percentage have mental/emotional issues that interfere with their ability to become part of the mainstream community.

It seems so simple to say, “Hey, pull yourself up by your bootstraps!”; however, one needs to understand that all people may not have had the same opportunities; education, finances, support or life skills; many people may need basic remedial skills. All these and more block people from leading a more productive life. It is not a matter of, “Hh, those homeless people!”, but rather a matter of compassionately treating each individual for their unique situation, whatever it may be.

— Gloria Regan is a public relations coordinator for WillBridge of Santa Barbara.

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