A weekly Neighborhood Navigation Center (NNC) is now open in the city of Goleta following a ribbon cutting Nov. 20 at Christ Lutheran Church, 6595 Covington Way.

The NNC, overseen by SBACT, is a place where people without homes can go, 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Mondays for a variety of services. It’s now one of four NCCs in Santa Barbara County.

“This is something we have wanted for a long time, to have a place where people can come get services, get document ready, get a meal, connect with service providers and gain their trust,” Goleta Mayor Paula Perotte said at the opening ceremony.

“It’s a big deal to me and I am forever grateful to everyone who was a part of making this happen,” she said.

Services offered include checking in with outreach teams from City Net and Good Samaritan Shelters, enjoying a free lunch provided by local volunteers, finding clothing, getting health needs treated by Doctors Without Walls, and meeting with the Santa Barbara Response Network to receive mental health first aid.

Other resources like showers and coordinated entry access to housing are planned for the near future.

“I’m so proud that the city of Goleta is stepping up and doing its share to humanely address homelessness,” said Santa Barbara County 3rd District Supervisor Joan Hartmann. “When people become homeless, they become disconnected and those connections have to be rewoven carefully, and that is what the service providers accomplish at this site.

“The missing link SBACT fills is working with communities to better understand what causes homelessness, how it is being addressed, and coordinating outreach efforts that serve people with dignity.”

“It takes a village to house people, and we will bring together as many programs as we can to make homelessness rare, brief, and a one-time experience,” said Chuck Flacks, Homelessness Services coordinator for the city of Goleta.

“Goleta is fortunate to have 160 new homes for homeless people in the pipeline, and many agencies willing and able to provide services,” he said. “This new center will help lead people home.”

Acknowledging that transportation to this site might be a challenge, Landon Ranck, SBACT operations manager, said, “We expect it to take several weeks for people to find this site, but by providing food, caring support, and a range of services in Goleta, people who would otherwise have to go to Santa Barbara to meet their needs now have somewhere close to go to in their hometown.”

Those interested in helping houseless people can direct them to the weekly service center.

For more information, or to volunteer or donate items, contact Eric Meyer, program coordinator, 805-259-4692 ext. 10.