Shelter & Safety

On the Street and Vulnerable

Life on the street, in a car, or bouncing from one relative’s house to another is perhaps the definition of being vulnerable. It makes the person experiencing homelessness susceptible to crime, injury, poor physical and mental health, and human trafficking. For some people it is episodic, for others it goes on for years. For children, the impact of these experiences can last a lifetime. Homelessness can occur for many reasons, but the exorbitant cost of housing in California has evicted many working families from the life they’d once known. Life can change with just one event – an illness, an incidence of domestic violence or the loss of employment. Families with young children may be forced to live in their vehicle, “double up” with 2 or 3 other families in cramped houses, or sometimes live with no shelter whatsoever.

Data courtesy of the Santa Barbara County Point in Time Count (2017 Report and 2019 Report).

Some people experience homelessness after years of drug or alcohol abuse or mental illness. Others are at risk after returning from military service, aging out of foster care, or aging in general, as an increasing number of seniors are homeless. The chronically homeless are the most visible in the community, often more resistant to services and very vulnerable, but they are certainly not alone.

Taking Action

The Santa Barbara Foundation believes an essential measure of the empathy of a community is how it treats its most vulnerable residents. Therefore, we have redoubled our efforts to work with those on the frontlines of the problem of homelessness to strengthen programs and resources.

If you are interested in contributing to the solutions, we welcome your partnership and appreciate your support.

Make a Gift Shelter & Safety Community Grant Program

Committed through 2023

Our Strategic Priorities were chosen as a result of our investigation into how the Santa Barbara Foundation could have a meaningful impact on solving today’s most persistent problems. The Strategic Plan was the result of a multi-year process of research, data analysis, interviews, focus groups and board deliberation. Our strategic priorities for 2018-2023 are to work with our partners and donors to maintain a safety net for the vulnerable and to find creative solutions to the problems of working families.

SBF Investments in Action in Shelter & Safety

SB ACT Spearheads Coalition to Fight Human Trafficking

Featured in County Connections Report: Defining Safety In Santa Barbara County BY SAM WATERSTONE | LEER EN ESPAÑOL In 2015, Kyli Larson, a Westmont student and intern for SB ACT (then […]

New Beginnings Celebrates 15 Years Providing a Safe Parking Program

Featured in County Connections Report: Defining Safety In Santa Barbara County BY SAM WATERSTONE | LEER EN ESPAÑOL Santa Barbara is nationally recognized for its world-class weather, beaches, and restaurants; as a […]


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