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New data and funds bring fresh solutions to homeless issues in Santa Barbara County

Homeless sign
New data and funding will help with homeless solutions in Santa Barbara County. (KEYT photo)

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - A packed room at the Faulkner Gallery in Santa Barbara brought some of the key voices together to help solve homeless issues.

The Santa Barbara Alliance for Community Transformation or SB ACT collaborated with various services that deal with the homeless including housing officials, shelter services, health care, police and city leaders.

New information was presented showing 25 percent of the homeless are 62 years old and older. The average age of a homeless person in Santa Barbara is 51 years old. 58 percent have had emotional, physical or sexual trauma in their life.

They also said a significant population is living in their cars.

Santa Barbara says it has 772 beds available for those without a home and most of those beds are full.

At the meeting it was widely agreed new safe and accessible housing was badly needed and a collective action plan will create current and long term solutions to homelessness.

Michael Hardwick with St. Vincent's said the full community needs to be aware of the issue and be part of the solution. He also said, "We need to have a lot more centers. There aren't enough of them in the city.   They need to be all over the city and they could be focal points for the use of the services that everybody here is talking about."

Currently there is a Father Virgil Cordano day center on Calle Real in Santa Barbara for those in need to get services including some food, service referrals, clothes washing and spiritual assistance.

New information was presented on state and federal funding for homeless programs that will be distributed to the county for use in critical areas.

There will also be another "Point in Time" count of the homeless in January. That's where volunteers go out at dawn to contact the homeless and gather statistical information.

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John Palminteri

John Palminteri is senior reporter for KEYT NewsChannel 3 and KCOY 12 Central Coast News.