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The Santa Barbara Foundation opens first North County location, helping 1000’s in need

People financially strapped – with nowhere to turn – now have a place in Santa Maria. The Santa Barbara Foundation is trying to help people who are running out of options. KCOY 12 Central Coast News was there as the foundation unveiled their new North County location in Santa Maria this morning.

The Santa Barbara Foundation now has a physical location here in North County, helping hundreds of nonprofits, like shelters. KCOY 12 spoke with a homeless woman who says she couldn’t be any more grateful for organizations like this one.

“You never know what’s going to happen in your life,” January Jones said.

January Jones wasn’t always homeless.

“Well this has been my home for basically the last eight months,” Jones said while showing us her bed at the shelter.

Earlier this year, Jones’ daughter decided to hit the open road and become a truck driver so she could save up to go to college.

“Her and I were splitting the bills.. and it wasn’t affordable on my own,” Jones said.

Jones has been at Good Samaritan shelter in Santa Maria since April.

“And if it wasn’t for this place, I’d probably be in my car,” Jones said.

She has a baby due in two weeks.

“There’s a definite need for places like this,” Jones said.

Wednesday morning, the Santa Barbara Foundation – founded in South County in 1928 – opened their first North County location.

“We’ve made huge investments in Marian hospital, the Good Samaritans, the Y, the Boys and girls Club,” Santa Barbara Foundation CEO Ron Gallo said.

The foundation is a non-profit itself. It’s awarded more than 15 million dollars over the years to hundreds of non-profits throughout the county – nonprofits – like Good Samaritan.

Good Samaritan requires you to be clean and sober, they can’t help you if you’re not willing to help yourself. Hence their saying: “a hand up, not a hand out.”

If you’re not clean and sober, you can check into their detox program.

“I’ve had people come up that have been clients of ours, recognize me and say I just want to thank you for Good Samaritan Shelter because if it wasn’t for you I wouldn’t be back on my feet and I have my own place and I have my family back together and I’m working full time,” Executive Director of Good Samaritan Shelter Sylvia Barnard said.

“When you have resources like this in the community to fall back on, it’s really great,” Jones said.

Jones is hoping to be back on her own soon.

“With my little happy family, you know, all under one roof again and just have our own holidays next year,” Jones said.

About 32 percent of Santa Maria is living under the poverty level, compared to 22 percent statewide.

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