The Santa Barbara City Council will talk about ways to offer permanent supportive housing for formerly homeless residents on Tuesday — less than a month after a public backlash against a proposal by the Salvation Army.
“I hear all the time that it has to be a joint effort,” Sneddon said. “I really just want to know what that means.”
Sneddon asked for representatives from Santa Barbara County, the city Housing Authority and nonprofit organizations to discuss what options are currently available.
“I am looking for ways that are responsible, that take the community into account, to find ways to work with the homeless population,” Sneddon said.
The Salvation Army recently proposed a development to house 14 recently homeless people at 15 S. Alisos St. in the Eastside neighborhood. Area residents largely opposed the project at a public meeting and the Salvation Army eventually withdrew its application.
Another supportive housing project was proposed recently by the city’s Housing Authority, for a commuter lot at Carrillo and Castillo streets.
The organization wanted to build 40 tiny homes, with on-site staff and services, and neighbors protested the idea. The organization received less state funding than it expected, and that plus the community reaction meant the project eventually fell through.
Sneddon and Dominguez’s memo calls for the City Council to discuss options for permanent supportive housing, and get an overview of what nonprofit organizations and other community gruops are already doing.
“Study after study has shown that supportive housing not only resolves homelessness and increases housing stability, but also improves health and lowers public costs by reducing the use of publicly-funded crisis services, including shelters, hospitals, psychiatric centers, jails, and prisons,” the memo states.
Dominguez, who represents the Eastside district and opposed the Salvation Army supportive housign project, said the city cannot wait for the county or state to solve the problem.
“Pretending homelessness doesn’t exist is not a strategy,” Dominguez said.
“My goal is to help individuals with mental illness and addiction issues get into residential housing with support so they can make it on their own and get off the street. This improves their health, their quality of life, and the community. Many of these individuals will just return to life on the street without counselors, and they will exact a toll on retail businesses, park visitors and residents.”
There are an estimated 887 homeless people living in the city of Santa Barbara, and 1,803 in all of Santa Barbara County, according to this year’s Point in Time Count conducted in January. There were many more people unsheltered versus those living in emergency shelters or transitional housing.
The Santa Barbara City Council meeting begins at 2 p.m. Tuesday at City Hall, 735 Anacapa St.