New Beginnings Hires Sara Grasso as Homeless Services Director

By Giving List Staff   |   July 2, 2021

New Beginnings is pleased to announce the addition of Sara Grasso, MFT as the agency’s first Homeless Services Director. The position was made possible with the support of the Women’s Fund of Santa Barbara, who recently provided New Beginnings with a grant of $75,000 to expand the Safe Parking Program. In addition to directing the Safe Parking Program, Grasso will also oversee the Supportive Services for Veteran Families Program, as well as New Beginnings’ supportive services contract at Johnson Court. 

Grasso is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist who specializes in working with people experiencing homelessness, as well as adults who present with severe and persistent mental illness. Prior to joining New Beginnings, Grasso was the Manager of Integrated Behavioral Health at the Stout Street Health Clinic at the Colorado Coalition for the Homeless. In addition, Grasso served in various positions of increasing responsibility at the County of Santa Barbara for six years, including as the Homeless Services and Assertive Community Treatment Manager for the County Department of Behavioral Wellness, where she oversaw multiple specialty programs tailored for vulnerable populations. Earlier in her career, Grasso worked in clinical and program management positions with local community partners, such as the Salvation Army Hospitality House, the Council on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse (CADA), Phoenix of Santa Barbara, and Family Service Agency.

Kristine Schwarz, MA, MFT, LPCC, Executive Director of New Beginnings said, “I have long enjoyed working in partnership with Sara throughout the years and was thrilled to have the opportunity for her to become a direct member of our team. She is perfect for the job and will serve our clients well.”

Sara Grasso, MFT, Homeless Services Director, said “I am beyond grateful for this opportunity! I have observed first-hand that the team at New Beginnings does whatever it takes to engage and serve our most vulnerable community members. I admire my colleagues for their approach to delivering services and am inspired by the mission of the organization. I look forward to being a part of the team and to working with our clients.”

New Beginnings provides quality, affordable counseling, shelter, case management and education that strengthens our community and provides their clients with the ability to lead healthy and productive lives. New Beginnings, located at 324 East Carrillo Street, Suite C, Santa Barbara, CA 93101, is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization. For more information, please contact our development department at (805) 963-7777 x112 or email at


New Beginnings


We provide mental health counseling to low-income community members and end homelessness for individuals, families, and veterans throughout Santa Barbara County. Through four core programs, we serve approximately 2,000 people each year.

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“It is tragic that mental illness and homelessness are so prevalent. Fortunately, our community has the resources and ability to address these issues head on. What we need is an organization to guide us. New Beginnings’ leadership has the expertise, entrepreneurial spirit, and compassion needed to make real and long-lasting change in our community. I urge you to join me in advancing the mission of this wonderful organization.”
– Honorable Susan Rose

Safe Parking Goes Countywide

Every night about 150 people living out of their cars find a safe haven in scattered church, business, and nonprofit parking lots each night. The program keeps a low profile, with no more than one to fifteen clients at a site. They are in at 7 pm and out at 7 am.
New Beginnings is expanding Safe Parking into northern Santa Barbara County, where the needs are acute and growing. The agency spends roughly $1,000,000 on the program per year. An initial government grant is providing seed funding for the expansion, so New Beginnings is seeking charitable donations and grants of at least $250,000 to build program capacity.

Board of Directors

Jacqueline Kurta, LMFT, PsyD, President
Dan Engel, Vice President
Ziad Elkurjie, Treasurer
Mark Cardona, JD, Secretary
Lloyd Dallett
Steve Baird
Coby W. Dillard, MA-HSC
Terence Ford
Karen Kelly
Lindsay Morris
Diane Pannkuk, MBA
Guy Smith

Advisory Council

Alberto Arroyo
Jim Baxter
Marc Borowitz
Patty Bryant
Brynn Crowe
Patricia Duffy
Allan Ghitterman (In Memoriam)
Mary Howe-Grant, PhD
Karen Lehrer, MFT
Seymour Lehrer
Mike McCarthy
Bruce W. McRoy, JD
Fred Morguelan, PhD
Hon. Susan Rose
Marilyn Rickard Schafer
Das Williams
Michael Young
Maria Zate