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Affordable Housing meetings reveal gaps in social services along the Central Coast

Goleta Meeting
Kacey Drescher/KEYT Photo

GOLETA, Calif. - Housing is a major issue for people in California and right here in Santa Barbara County, regardless of your income or age. 

Community stakeholders met Thursday afternoon in Goleta to figure out the best way to utilize federal funding and tackle issues that impede housing.

While the discussion is centered around affordable housing it encompasses so much more than that and decision-makers say some of those housing funds go hand in hand with social services.

“Some of the funds that we receive from the federal government can be used on social services and often social services are linked to housing and vice versa so a lot of the things that we are discussing and thinking about are how do we best support youth? Seniors? Those with disabilities? Those experiencing homelessness,” said Dominique Samario, Management Analysis, Neighborhood Services and Public Safety Department. 

Service provider agencies are brainstorming the best way to spend federal funding from the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Every five years there’s a visioning and prioritizing process with a focus on community involvement. 

There’s been a series of these meetings in Lompoc, Santa Maria, the county and now Goleta and officials say they’re seeing common themes up and down the Central Coast.

“Themes about how do we serve seniors? How do we allow people to stay in their homes to prevent homelessness? How do we serve people with disabilities? How do we enable people to have a living wage so they can stay in their houses and stay functioning and contributing members of our communities,” explained Samario.

Officials say there’s not enough housing to go around and there are fundamental transportation and childcare issues, impacting seniors, those with disabilities and the homeless.

Agency participants say the needs are huge and the resources are small so it’s important to work together. Experts say strong partnerships result in a better-served community. 

Article Topic Follows: Lifestyle
social services

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Kacey Drescher


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