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Transition House Helps Spread the Word About Growing Family Homelessness Crisis

When a national news story breaks, reporters turn to experts in the field for comment and insight. When a new report on family homelessness was released last week, the national media looked to Santa Barbara’s own Transition House, which has become a role model for how communities can come together to help homeless families with children.

Executive Director Kathleen Baushke helped Associated Press reporters, who also spoke with TH client families.

“We were very happy to help to spread the word nationally about a crisis we know all too well right here at home,” Baushke said. “Transition House is very proud of how our community is responding, though the need for more support remains critical. If we can help other communities recognize this problem, we are excited to be a part of that.”

The report, issued by the National Center for Family Homelessness, exposed the silent and under-reported crisis, revealing that more than 2.5 million children are homeless nationwide, with more than 500,000 of those in California alone. And with more than 7,000 such children — as much as ten percent of the school-age population — Santa Barbara County is in the unfortunate position of being second in the state. The report also noted that family homelessness increased nationally by 8 percent from 2012 to 2013.

The good news is that the Associated Press article that featured Transition House was picked up around the country, with dozens of major newspapers from San Jose to Denver to Boston to Washington running the story, along with web sites including Huffington Post, which had the story on its front page Monday.

“The issue of homelessness in families with children fights for attention with the more visible issue of individuals living on the streets,” added Baushke, noting that the vast majority of children without permanent homes are not in shelters, but in temporary, crowded situations, doubling or tripling up with other families. “People in Santa Barbara know how important helping families is, so we hope this article will spur a growing national effort, too.”

Click here to find out more about Transition House and its programs.

— Jim Buckley is president of the Board of Directors of Transition House.

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