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City Works to Reduce Complaints About Homeless Shelter

Santa Barbara business owners have brought a long list of issues to the city planners, about the Casa Esperanza homeless shelter. They want solutions, after years of problems linked to drugs, alcohol and panhandling.The shelter is on the lower eastside of town and those with concerns say the impacts can be felt for blocks. They also say an outreach team has been unsuccessful.The shelter says it is addressing the concerns and doing moreto reduce problems in the area of the building.”An attitude change is in order. We would like to see Casa Esperanza act as good neighbor,” said Alan Bleecker a local business owner.Milpas Action Task Force member Julianna Reichard said, “the city can’t go on assuming Casa Esperanza is going to police itself, because clearly that’s not the case.”The shelter said it is limiting its lunch crowd to less than 200 to stay in compliance with its permit, but occasionally a few more come through the line.Other improvements to the building are being made to manage who comes in, who goes out and whether or not they are cleared in the system to be on the property.Police officials say they are trying to get frequent offenders, who have an addiction problem, into a recovery program instead of taking them to jail over and over.”The next two years promise to be more successful with positive change that can come to fruition,” said Mike Foley with Casa Esperanza. KEY News Senior Reporter John Palminteri has our story.

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