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PATH Santa Barbara seeking volunteers as demands to serve homeless increase

KEYT

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. PATH Santa Barbara is one of the largest agencies of its kind in California.

“Serving the unhoused community … so in the Santa Barbara region we’ve been providing supportive services here since about 2015," said supporter Laura Sandoval of PATH Santa Barbara.

The agency is also the busiest it’s ever been, especially its housing program.

“We’re extremely busy. Right now we’re at capacity due to our restrictions from COVID," said team supervisor Jeff Woolever of PATH Santa Barbara.

Managers at PATH say more and more people need help.

"Actually we see an increase due to the point in time count we had earlier this year. we saw a three percent increase to the homeless population. upwards of 2,000 people," said Woolever.

The agency believes the rising cost of rent, lack of support systems and health care resources, are some of the main factors leading to more homelessness.

“So when people come here to path and they stay in our programs we’re trying to do more than offer a bed," said Sandoval.

PATH Santa Barbara is trying to help those in need by connecting them to case management, employment services, health care and more.

“We know it’s going to take a wrap-around support to really address those systemic issues … that contributed to homelessness and really set people up for success when they leave into their forever homes," said Sandoval.

But as demand rises, the agency is seeing a 20 percent drop in the number of volunteers.

“It’s the summer time! People are out having a good time. We have a large pool from UCSB a lot of our students have left for the summer. We have shifts to fill to help serve meals to our residents … take care of our residents in a lot of different ways," said associate director of development John Bowlin at PATH Santa Barbara.

For more information on how you can become a volunteer to help PATH Santa Barbara, log onto: https://epath.org/regions/santa-barbara-central-coast/ or call  (805) 884-8481.

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Patricia Martellotti

Patricia Martellotti is a reporter for News Channel 3-12. To learn more about Patricia, click here.

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