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Casa Esperanza Extends Challenge Grant Deadline to Help Close Budget Gap

Homeless shelter's donors will match all contributions dollar for dollar up to $300,000 through Aug. 31

Government and charitable grant opportunities are shrinking while the number of people struggling to make ends meet is increasing. An estimated 900 men, women and children are homeless in Santa Barbara and sleeping on the streets each night. Thousands more are living on the verge of homelessness, making the impossible choices between medicine, rent and even food for themselves and their families.

Casa Esperanza, 816 Cacique St., is appealing to the community to join a collaboration of donors who will double all donations up to $300,000 received by Aug. 31, to meet Casa Esperanza’s $600,000 budget gap — a gap that must be filled if the organization is to keep shelter, food and recovery and transitional programs for the homeless operating at current capacity.

Through Aug. 30, every gift received will be matched, dollar for dollar, up to $300,000. The original deadline of July 31 has been extended through August to give the community more time to advantage of this opportunity and for Casa Esperanza to meet this critical funding goal.

“This significant and generous challenge means our community can double the impact of its compassion for our most vulnerable neighbors who are severely in need of the proven hand up we provide,” said Ron Fox, Casa Esperanza board president. “We are succeeding through our unique and collaborative services model to help homeless people survive and emerge from homelessness to housing, and provide the safety net that prevents those at the greatest risk of becoming homeless so they can continue being productive members of our community.”

Last year, Casa Esperanza placed 192 people in jobs and helped 436 people transition from the streets and into permanent housing.

Casa Esperanza programs include transitional living shelter beds, job development, counseling staff and more. Funds donated to Casa Esperanza’s Community Kitchen also will be matched. The Community Kitchen is the only agency in Santa Barbara that collects food from grocery stores and restaurants and distributes that food to the hungry and homeless every day. In a 12-month period, the Community Kitchen will create nearly 175,000 meals for those in need.

Like many other organizations locally and nationwide, Casa Esperanza has had to reduce its operating budget to keep the most vital programs open. Strategic approaches to staffing and a major push to establish a trained cadre of volunteers along with this campaign to raise funding will allow Casa Esperanza to save its priority services.

“Casa Esperanza is grateful to all of the community members who have already donated to help meet this critical fundraising challenge,” Fox said. “From the smallest to the largest donations since the challenge was announced in June, every dollar will translate into proven, caring and results-driven programs. This challenge is giving our community a way to reduce and prevent homelessness in Santa Barbara by making sure that the services needed for homeless people to re-build their lives are available.”

On behalf of the hundreds of homeless people who seek help, and the hundreds who move form homelessness to housing as a direct result of Casa Esperanza services, the community is asked to consider making a donation by Aug. 31. Click here to donate online or call 805.884.0123. To donate $5 immediately by mobile phone, text “CASA” to 85944.

— Juliana Minsky is a publicist representing Casa Esperanza.

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