Pixel Tracker

Monday, December 10 , 2018, 12:11 pm | Mostly Cloudy 63º


With Cold Front and Rain in Sunday Forecast, Casa Esperanza to Double Number of Shelter Beds

Santa Barbara homeless shelter gets city’s emergency authorization for 200 beds before regular Dec. 1 expansion

Casa Esperanza, the People Assisting the Homeless shelter at 816 Cacique St. in Santa Barbara, is allowed to double its bed capacity to 200 between Dec. 1 and March 31. Because of inclement weather in Sunday’s forecast, the shelter has been cleared to expand now. Click to view larger
Casa Esperanza, the People Assisting the Homeless shelter at 816 Cacique St. in Santa Barbara, is allowed to double its bed capacity to 200 between Dec. 1 and March 31. Because of inclement weather in Sunday’s forecast, the shelter has been cleared to expand now. (Lara Cooper / Noozhawk photo)

Cold temperatures and the threat of weekend rain have prompted one Santa Barbara homeless shelter to activate emergency beds this weekend.

Jessica Wishan, managing director of Casa Esperanza said the shelter at 816 Cacique St. on the Lower Eastside has been at 100 percent capacity for the past several weeks.

On Friday, she submitted a request to the City of Santa Barbara to allow for emergency beds to be activated after taking a look at this weekend’s forecast. The city granted the request later that day.

The shelter’s agreement with the city allows for 100 extra shelter beds to be activated from Dec. 1 to March 31. That would bring the shelter’s total capacity to 200 beds.

However, if the temperature is expected to drop below 40 degrees or there’s more than a 50 percent chance of rain, the shelter can activate those emergency beds, even outside of the winter timeframe.

The National Weather Service says a cold front will be moving through the region Sunday, bringing with it rain in the morning followed by showers in the afternoon. Daytime high temperatures are expected in the upper 50s and low 60s, with overnight lows in the upper 30s to mid-40s.

Strong and potentially damaging winds also are in the forecast. Afternoon winds of 15 to 25 mph are expected Sunday, with gusts to 35 mph.

Sunday night, however, the weather service said winds are likely to increase to 25 to 35 mph, with gusts to 50 mph. Isolated gusts as high as 60 mph are possible in the foothills. 

Wishan said the Casa Esperanza shelter, which is run by People Assisting the Homeless, or PATH, is also collecting clean, gently used blankets and towels as well as new hygiene and toiletry items in advance of the winter shelter beds opening Dec. 1.

She said those wanting to donate can bring the items to the shelter from 8 a.m to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday.

When the shelter is expanded, beneficiaries will receive three meals a day, as well as benefit from programming the shelter offers, including two new employment programs, Wishan said.

“We are always at maximum capacity but in particular with the weather, people are appreciating the shelter opportunity,” she said.

Warming centers have been activated during inclement weather in the past, including at the Unitarian Society of Santa Barbara on the Upper Eastside.

But Unitarian Society administration director Erin Wilson told Noozhawk it didn’t look as if the organization would open the warming shelters this weekend.

“Our season begins Nov. 15 and activation is triggered if there are two nights in a row of 50 percent or more chance of rain and/or if the temperature is forecasted to drop below 38 degrees,” she said.

“We are predicting much higher numbers of clients than normal this season as we head into what could potentially be a very wet and cold winter.”

Sylvia Bernard, director of Good Samaritan, which has shelters in Lompoc and Santa Maria, said the shelter has been at overflow capacity for the last five years.

“We’re full every night,” she said.

Good Samaritan also operates North County warming shelters, which usually are activated after Dec. 1, she said.

Because of a shortage of funding, the shelters aren’t able to accommodate more people outside that timeframe, she said.

“In Lompoc, we have 56 beds of shelter but are serving 90 people,” she explained. “In Santa Maria, there are 90 beds but we’re serving 130 people.

“You can imagine how impacted we are.”

Noozhawk staff writer Lara Cooper can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made using a credit card, Apple Pay or Google Pay, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments and a mailing address for checks.

Thank you for your vital support.

Become a Noozhawk Supporter

First name
Last name
Select your monthly membership
Or choose an annual membership

Payment Information

Membership Subscription

You are enrolling in . Thank you for joining the Hawks Club.

Payment Method

Pay by Credit Card:

Mastercard, Visa, American Express, Discover
One click only, please!

Pay with Apple Pay or Google Pay:

Noozhawk partners with Stripe to provide secure invoicing and payments processing.
You may cancel your membership at any time by sending an email to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

  • Ask
  • Vote
  • Investigate
  • Answer

Noozhawk Asks: What’s Your Question?

Welcome to Noozhawk Asks, a new feature in which you ask the questions, you help decide what Noozhawk investigates, and you work with us to find the answers.

Here’s how it works: You share your questions with us in the nearby box. In some cases, we may work with you to find the answers. In others, we may ask you to vote on your top choices to help us narrow the scope. And we’ll be regularly asking you for your feedback on a specific issue or topic.

We also expect to work together with the reader who asked the winning questions to find the answer together. Noozhawk’s objective is to come at questions from a place of curiosity and openness, and we believe a transparent collaboration is the key to achieve it.

The results of our investigation will be published here in this Noozhawk Asks section. Once or twice a month, we plan to do a review of what was asked and answered.

Thanks for asking!

Click Here to Get Started >

Reader Comments

Noozhawk is no longer accepting reader comments on our articles. Click here for the announcement. Readers are instead invited to submit letters to the editor by emailing them to [email protected]. Please provide your full name and community, as well as contact information for verification purposes only.

Daily Noozhawk

Subscribe to Noozhawk's A.M. Report, our free e-Bulletin sent out every day at 4:15 a.m. with Noozhawk's top stories, hand-picked by the editors.

Sign Up Now >