On November 19, 2019 the Santa Barbara Foundation held a Homelessness & Housing Forum at the Foundation’s Santa Barbara Headquarters.
At this convening, a panel of community experts, including Rich Sander (Executive Director of the Santa Barbara Alliance for Community Transformation), Cassie Roach (Program Coordinator and Senior Case Manager for the Safe Parking Program at the New Beginnings Counseling Center), and Rob Fredericks (Executive Director and CEO of the Housing Authority of the City of Santa Barbara), came together to discuss the issues of shelter, safety, and how best to support vulnerable populations in our communities. The panel was moderated by Barbara Andersen, Chief Strategy Officer of the Santa Barbara Foundation.
A growing number of families in Santa Barbara County have a license plate instead of a home address. They’re forced to live in their cars because, even though they may have a job, they cannot afford the high cost of housing. Of the 1,800 people experiencing homelessness in our county last year there has been a 27% increase in unsheltered homeless. It’s a myth that the chronically homeless make up the bulk of the homeless population. It is now becoming more likely to be seniors, families, veterans, and former foster youth who live on the streets, in vehicles or in camps.
Through a series of community education forums, the Foundation hopes to bring together community members, nonprofit leaders, SBF staff, donors and fundholders to discuss our county’s most pressing issues and find innovative, collaborative solutions to those problems.
Below, you can listen to the audio from our November Homelessness & Housing Forum. We hope you enjoy, and please reach out to us if you have any questions. Stay tuned for additional educational forums in 2020!