The City of Santa Barbara on Tuesday agreed to spend more than $400,000 on services addressing homelessness.
The City Council voted unanimously to give People Assisting the Homeless (PATH) $202,100 to fund up to seven beds for homeless people. The city also agreed to give $200,000 to the Santa Barbara Alliance for Community Transformation, SB ACT.
As part of the contract, PATH, at 816 Cacique St., agreed to regular neighborhood communication, outreach and a private watch patrol to prevent any homeless problems from spilling out into the nearby business community.
PATH also will submit quarterly reports on compliance to the city and make two presentations to the city Planning Commission.
As part of the contract, SB ACT will provide administrative oversight, including overseeing development of a strategic plan, lead work groups of service providers and homeless individuals, and coordinate a regional action plan.
SB ACT also runs three navigation centers with services such as food, medical and veterinarian services, hygiene and other care. The services are available Tuesdays at the Carrillo Commuter Lot, Wednesdays at the Rescue Mission and Thursdays at Alameda Park.
It’s the third year of an agreement with SB ACT.
“I am really proud to say that over these past two years, SB ACT has matched the public dollars that you have put forward with private foundation matches,” Executive Director Rich Sander said.
Councilman Eric Friedman said he appreciated the work of the organizations.
“It’s always evolving, and it needs to because the issues are so complex and the needs are changing,” Friedman said.
Friedman also said that the new reports and neighborhood patrols provided by PATH will provide more accountability. He also addressed concerns about drug use near PATH and the impact of the behavior on the business neighborhood.
“To go in a different direction, we would lose those beds, and there could be even additional consequences if PATH wasn’t able to continue to operate, in our ability to have beds,” Friedman said.
He said there’s a shortage of beds and the situation could be much worse if PATH wasn’t able to provide those services.
“PATH is a strategic partner, and we need to look at them and how we can improve the outcomes there for the clients and outcomes for the neighborhood,” Friedman said.
Santa Barbara Mayor Randy Rowse said he remembers the “Casa Esperanza days” (the name of the shelter before PATH took over the services) and the impacts on the neighborhood.
“I know it’s always been a problem,” he said, “but it is something we need to retain our focus on and retain accountability with because there is a neighborhood that is impacted.”