The annual “Global Day of Giving” is upon us this holiday season and what better way to give back to your community then joining in on #GivingTuesday by donating to the organizations that make Santa Barbara a place we are proud to call home. Our Good for Santa Barbara Nonprofit Section provides all the resources you need to donate this holiday season.
In this interview, Noozhawk sat down with John “JB” Bowlin, Associate Director of Development and Volunteers of People Assisting The Homeless (PATH) Santa Barbara, to learn more about how the nonprofit is dedicated to ending homelessness throughout California.
PATH Santa Barbara
Question: What is the name & mission of your nonprofit?
Answer: PATH Santa Barbara – we are dedicated to ending homelessness for individuals, families, and communities.
Q: How long has your nonprofit been in service and whom was it started by?
A: 35 years. PATH was founded by Claire West Orr in 1984, and originally started as a small grassroots organization serving the Westside of Los Angeles. In 2015, we merged with Casa Esperanza, creating PATH Santa Barbara.
Q: What was the inspiration behind your nonprofit?
A: It all started with a letter, calling for the community to address the ever-increasing issue of homelessness in 1983. In response, 60 people gathered together to figure out how to help homeless individuals in their neighborhood. That night, PATH was born.
Q: In what ways does your nonprofit utilize it’s funding?
A: When you donate to PATH Santa Barbara, your contribution helps our neighbors experiencing homelessness locally. On average, PATH Santa Barbara helps 100 people each year move off the streets and into a home, but we couldn’t do it without the help of our supporters. Because of government contracts that cover administrative costs, 100% of private donations directly support the people we serve.
Q: What is one best kept secret or fun fact about your nonprofit that not everyone knows?
A: PATH provides services and housing solutions across the state! We have over 25 locations throughout California, provide services in more than 140 cities, and have more than 1,000 units of permanent supportive housing completed or in the pipeline.
In every community we serve, we help people find permanent housing and provide case management, medical and mental healthcare, benefits advocacy, employment training, and other services to help them maintain their homes stably. Since 2013, we have connected more than 8,500 people to permanent homes. Including 450 here in Santa Barbara!
Q: Can you tell us one success story from your nonprofit?
A: Joseph lived on the streets for 18 years. He was dealing with ongoing health issues, which worsened without a home. He sought help at a local hospital and their staff connected him to PATH. While staying at our interim housing program in Santa Barbara, Joseph was determined to find an apartment that would accept his Section 8 voucher. Joseph spent every day looking for a home and reaching out to landlords. With the help of PATH staff, his hard work paid off. Joseph found an apartment and moved into his new home in June!
Q: What makes your nonprofit different from others?
A: We truly understand that there isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach to addressing homelessness. We recognize that every client comes to with a very different set of circumstances that have led to their homelessness, as well as incredibly diverse needs. We work to meet our clients where they are at, and strategically connect them to resources based on their individual needs.
Q: How do people get involved/volunteer for your nonprofit?
Q: What types of fundraisers and/or programs does your nonprofit run?
A: Here in Santa Barbara, our two most important fundraisers are the summer Making It Home Tour (save the date – June 6, 2020!) and the Imaginary Feast campaign (November-December each year).
Click here to support PATH’s mission to end homelessness and make a donation to PATH Santa Barbara.