Sunday, July 22 , 2018, 12:40 am | Fair 67º


Joyce E. Dudley: In Praise of Santa Barbara Rescue Mission

Santa Barbara has a homeless problem, a drug problem and a theft problem, but for over 50 years one of our remarkable local nonprofit institutions has quietly made a difference in addressing the complex issues of homelessness and addiction. 

I am in awe of the extraordinary accomplishments occurring daily at the Santa Barbara Rescue Mission, and I deeply appreciate their successful history of protecting our public's safety. 

On any given night, across all their programs, 200 people with no place to call home were fed and slept safely under their roof.

Because of the Santa Barbara Rescue Mission, these individuals did not wander streets, buy, sell or use drugs, and did not beg or steal from our community to meet their own desperate needs.

Since being built in 1986, their facility has provided over 3 million meals and 1.7 million nights of shelter. In 2016 alone, the Rescue Mission provided 143,051 meals and 51,627 safe overnight stays to people with no place else to turn.

Additionally, 44 residents graduated from their 12-month residential recovery program.

Of great significance is that 100 percent of those graduates were employed when they graduated.

Further, their 5-year rate of clients remaining in recovery is 53 perent — more than twice the national baseline of 21 percent.

Like many supporters of the Rescue Mission, I am not a Christian, but I believe in the public benefit the Rescue Mission provides. The Rescue Mission seeks to help the most down-trodden and hopeless among us, and they do so without any conditions, except that someone seek their help and embrace a program. 

Their efforts are important to me as both a community member and your district attorney. Important because when an addict, or an alcoholic, is considering life without using, or a homeless person decides they want to reconnect with their community and become a contributing member of our society, I want to know that someone is there to receive them and help them find their way.

For over 50 years, that "someone" has been the Santa Barbara Rescue Mission.

I strongly believe that we, as a community which continues to struggle these problems, need to support a statistically successful working model — one that we know will have a significant effect on keeping our city safe.

Joyce E. Dudley is the district attorney of Santa Barbara County.

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