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Millions of dollars in homeless projects past and present will be reviewed by Santa Barbara City leaders

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - Efforts to control homelessness, reduce fire risks at camps and address growing housing needs will be before the Santa Barbara City Council on Tuesday.

A multi-million dollar effort with several government agencies and private groups will be part of the discussion to see what is working, and what needs to be modified.

Seed money for the most current effort came from the Santa Barbara Foundation and the Alliance for Community Transformation or (ACT) in 2019.

A report to the council shows the city needs 120 units of bridge housing and 158 units of other permanent
housing.

No new affordable housing developments opened within the city of Santa Barbara last year, however the city says, there are two major developments ahead.

This includes Vera Cruz Village at 116 East Cota Street that will have 28 studio units for individuals experiencing homelessness as well as a property at 200 North La Cumbre Road that will have 48 units of affordable rental housing for low-income families.

The Housing Authority of the City of Santa Barbara provided 89 Emergency Housing Vouchers (EHV) over the past seven months that were 100% utilized by case management partners including City Net, New Beginnings Counseling Center, Salvation Army, and PATH.

Financial incentives were provided to private landlords, as well as three years of supportive services to housed clients.

Additional programs were provided in 2020 and 2021, including the relocation of people living in areas of high-fire dangers such as railroad corridors and freeway on and off-ramps.

The Rose Garden Inn on upper State Street in Santa Barbara was utilized for this program last summer. It concluded earlier this year.

It had a cost of about $3 million.

The city report says 63 people were served, with 12 individuals being placed into permanent supportive housing units. Thirty-three clients became document ready and five people achieved employment.

Though, 27 individuals returned to being unsheltered at the end of the temporary project because shelter
providers were unable to take new client referrals due to a surge in positive cases of COVID-19.

All clients continue to be case managed by City Net as they search for available permanent supportive housing units.

Recently, three street outreach neighborhood centers opened on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday each week. Each one provides services and food for those living in homeless camps and cars.

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John Palminteri

John Palminteri is senior reporter for KEYT News Channel 3. To learn more about John, click here.

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