Tag Archives: homelessness

The Making it Home Tour: Helping the Homeless Community Find Their PATH

Community members that are experiencing homelessness could often use a path to help guide them from the street into a home. Since the early 1980s, People Assisting The Homeless (PATH) has been helping individuals, veterans, and families requiring assistance find their way to long-term housing solutions. 

“We do that by really focusing on moving people off the streets, out of the shelter system, and into their own permanent home, but kind of providing the full continuum of services from streets to home,” said Tessa Madden Storms, PATH Santa Barbara Regional Director.

Today, PATH has become one of the largest organizations in the state to do so. With programs in about 150 cities spread throughout six main regions, PATH assists roughly 20% of the homeless population in California. PATH has been supporting the Santa Barbara homeless population since July 2015 and offers a range of services in the area. 

In town, PATH operates a 100-bed housing facility located on Cacique and Milpas, with guests usually staying between three to six months while working with PATH staff on their long-term housing goals. 

“We also have a couple of different community housing programs where we’re not necessarily just serving folks who are living with us onsite, but are serving individuals experiencing homelessness from throughout the Santa Barbara community,” Tessa said. 

PATH provides short-term financial assistance and case management in its rapid rehousing program, while launching a Scatter Site Permanent Supportive Housing Program last fall that provides long-term financial and rental support for 24 of the county’s most vulnerable individuals.

PATH offers a range of programs that support individuals and families facing homelessness with financial and employment assistance
PATH helps members of the community find permanent housing solutions

“We have also been able to add some additional community-based programming in the city and the county which includes employment services that are funded through a County Human Services grant and so we’re able to provide employment training, location, and retention services for folks who are work ready,” Tessa adds.

Part of PATH’s success is the close partnerships they have formed with other organizations.

“We have a lot of community contracts and partnerships that really feed into all of our programs and services. One of the main ones is with Cottage Health,” Tessa said. “They have a contract for 20 beds at PATH so we work with them very closely to support those folks that are getting referred from various programs.” 

Additionally, County Behavioral Wellness has a contract for 24 beds with PATH, while County Public Health operates a clinic on site for five days a week. With some creative bed placement and the support of partnering organizations, including Doctors Without Walls, PATH has been able to operate at about 85% of its normal capacity during the pandemic and are starting to accept new referrals from partners and relaunch programs as it is safe to do so.

Since 2015, PATH has served 3,500 members of the community in need, housed just under 500 individuals, and helped 600 people increase their income or gain paid employment.

In 2017, PATH was still a young organization in the area and wanted to introduce a signature event that would be unique while informing the community on their programs and mission. The incredible range of architecturally significant homes in the region seemed like an opportunity to celebrate the concept of home as it asked guests to look inward on what home means to them. The Making It Home Tour was launched that year and it quickly grew in popularity.

PATH serves around 20% of the homeless population in the state

On the tour, attendees would ride a historic trolley to four architecturally-revered local homes while learning about the different PATH programs along the journey. 

“You are kind of seeing the stark juxtaposition between some of the homes we’re visiting and facing the reality that there are still people experiencing homelessness on our streets,” Tessa explains, “but you’re also getting this unique look inside of these homes. It was an event that really got a lot of traction and I think that really did bring a lot of meaning, excitement, and support to the cause.” 

Naturally the Making It Home Tour did not take place last year, however they wanted to bring the popular event back this year in a safe way. A virtual event through Zoom will be held on June 5 from 3 to 4 pm that will bring a familiar experience but in a new format that allows them to share the event with the other Californian communities that PATH serves.

This year’s Making It Home Tour will feature the majestic motifs of famed Frank Lloyd Wright Jr.’s Warwick Evans House, along with the more whimsical forms from esteemed architect Jeff Shelton. There will also be a notable home in Orange County and visits to three of the PATH projects including the tiny home community they helped build in partnership with the city of San Jose.

The Zoom event will last about an hour and attendees will also be given access to a special website that offers inside looks at the featured properties and projects in addition to various workshops. Enjoy a floral arranging demonstration from A&J Floral Designs or try your hand at mixology with one of their guided cocktails courses by Loft & Bear Vodka or Shaun Belway, bar manager of the Bobcat Room.

The site allows attendees to enjoy the extra content on their own time and revisit the range of notable properties and meaningful projects. A general ticket ($50) comes with a little wine and snacks that make for an enjoyable afternoon at home. A VIP ticket ($150) for two offers a full experience with an array of goodies from their supporters, both locally and abroad, including a full bottle of wine with glasses, charcuterie, and something sweet to round out the night. 

More information on the different PATH programs and a link to Making It Home Tour tickets can be found at epath.org.

Path (People Assisting the Homeless) Hosts Fourth Annual Making It Home Tour

Experience a Virtual Guided Tour Celebrating the Meaning of Home

PATH (People Assisting The Homeless) hosts their fourth annual Making It Home Tour on Saturday, June 5, 2021, a virtual, guided journey through the homes of PATH supporters and residents across California. The virtual compilation of unique home tours and personal interviews celebrates the meaning of home after a year of accelerated homelessness due to COVID-19.

In March 2020, staying inside to keep local communities safe was paramount, and having a home was a privilege. Last year, PATH provided services to more than 26,000 people and helped 1,800 people move into their own homes.

“While we have made many adjustments this year, including teleworking and virtual events, one thing has remained the same: our mission to end homelessness for individuals, families, and communities. The Making it Home Tour provides vital funds to sustain our work and an opportunity to showcase what home means to our supporters and the people we serve”, said Joel John Roberts, PATH CEO.

The Making It Home Tour will feature historic and architectural gems throughout

 California, including the famed Frank Lloyd Wright Jr.’s Warwick Evans House in Brentwood and one of the esteemed Architect Jeff Shelton’s Santa Barbara properties.

In addition to in-depth tours of each home, attendees will tour PATH Housing Sites in San Jose, Los Angeles and San Diego and also gain access to interactive DIY home, decor, and design workshops from A&J Floral Designs, Loft & Bear Vodka and BobCat Room.

For ultimate viewing pleasure, special event packages are also available, mailed to each participant’s home the week of the event. Event packages include exclusive PATH wine glasses, wine from noteworthy California vineyards, travel-safe charcuterie items courtesy of Trader Joe’s, and more!

The Making It Home Tour streams on June 5, 2021 from 3 P.M. to 4 P.M. PST. Tickets can be purchased at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/path-making-it-home-tour-tickets-142755408269. All proceeds will go toward PATH’s mission of ending homelessness for individuals, families and communities.

Event sponsors include Variety, 805 Living, Urban Catalyst, Consumer Insights Group, The Tyler Family and Baked It Myself. For information on sponsorship opportunities, please contact Carley Berkowitz, Community Event Specialist at PATH, at carleyb@epath.org.

Elected Official Briefing On Homelessness With PATH Santa Barbara

On Friday, April 23rd, People Assisting The Homeless (PATH) leadership will brief elected officials and their staff on the work PATH is doing in the Santa Barbara region to address homelessness.

The event will include presentations from PATH staff on pandemic impacts, Project Homekey, interim housing, rapid rehousing, permanent supportive housing, and employment. Following the presentation, there will be an opportunity for questions.

PATH Santa Barbara operates the former Casa Esperanza Interim Housing site, which provides a variety of services for our neighbors experiencing homelessness that include employment, outreach, housing navigation, interim housing, and rapid rehousing.

In 2020, PATH Santa Barbara helped the County open a 68-room, COVID-19 emergency motel for our unhoused neighbors in fragile physical health. Additionally, the interim housing site began the first of a two-phase renovation project which will create a more welcoming, trauma- informed environment to support our residents’ healing process.

Invitees include the offices of Governor Gavin Newsom, Senator Dianne Feinstein, Senator Alex Padilla, Congressman Salud Carbajal, Congresswoman Julia Brownley, State Senator Monique Limon, Assemblymember Jordan Cunningham, Assemblymember Steve Bennett, Supervisor, Debbie Arnold, Supervisor Das Williams, Supervisor Matt LaVere, Mayor Cathy Murillo, Mayor Heidi Harmon, Mayor Sofia Rubalcava, Councilmember Alejandra Gutierrez, Councilmember Mike Jordan, Councilmember Oscar Gutierrez, Councilmember Kristen Sneddon, Councilmember Eric Friedman, and Councilmember Meagan Harmon.     

About PATH

Founded in 1984, PATH is committed to ending homelessness for individuals, families, and communities in California. We do this by building affordable supportive housing and providing homeless services in more than 140 cities across the state. Our services support nearly 20 percent of the state’s population experiencing homelessness. Since 2013, PATH has helped more than 11,800 people move into permanent homes. More information at www.epath.org.

Storyteller Children’s Center (Literally) Delivers On Their 7th Annual Lunch With Love Event

Raising funds on behalf of the therapeutic school for homeless toddlers and preschoolers, Storyteller staff, board and volunteers delivered 140 lunches (serving 560 people) to the doorsteps of would-be event guests.

Storyteller Children’s Center held its 7th annual Lunchbox Luncheon this week. As a result of pandemic circumstances, this is the second time the non-profit pivoted from an in-person event to deliver lunch to patrons and donors over a four day period. 

Participants received a delicious lunch by Duo and Mission Rose Pasta, which included a choice between homemade vegan soup, chicken noodle soups or fresh pasta. All lunches served a family of four and included freshly baked bread and a bottle of Grenache from Babcock winery.

“Storyteller’s Lunch with Love has been a great success due to incredible community involvement,” noted Storyteller Development Director, Adrienne DeGuevara.”With the support of volunteers, board members and sponsors, we’ve been able to engage long-standing donors and engage new ones. “

As a special bonus, each lunch purchase included an automatic raffle entry to win an original piece of artwork from Pedro De La Cruz, who created the celebrated Montecito Strong bear and whose artwork famously drew a $100,000 auction bid at the Storyteller Children’s Center Gala in 2018.

“While we’re eager to gather again, we are happy to partake in this effort for a second year,” noted Storyteller board member Erinn Lynch. “It offers a much-needed touchpoint with the people who support our Storyteller children and families. These ‘soul food’ lunches are delivered with gratitude and an acknowledged bond as we work together to take care of our community, despite pandemic circumstances.” 

About Storyteller: Founded in 1988, Storyteller is a full-time, therapeutic school program that supports children ages 18 months to 5 years in achieving kindergarten readiness. In addition to the approximate 80 students served per year, Storyteller also provides assistance to the entire family unit, with an emphasis on breaking the cycle of poverty for the working poor while preparing children to successfully enter kindergarten.

Making It Home Tour

PATH (People Assisting The Homeless) is hosting their fourth annual Making It Home Tour on June 5th, a virtual, guided journey through the homes of PATH supporters and tenants across California. We hope that you will join us for a pre-recorded, virtual compilation of unique home tours and personal interviews connecting us all to the question, “What does home mean to you?”. 

The Making It Home Tour celebrates the meaning of home. In March 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic accelerated an already pervasive problem: homelessness. The necessity of staying inside to keep our communities safe has made us all even more grateful to have a place to call home. What does home mean to you? 

Event Details 

A link to the virtual event will be sent to all ticket holders in advance, and we will all come together to watch as it streams on Saturday, June 5th, 2021. 

All guests will also receive: 

– Access to a private event website to explore on their own time, with in depth tours of each home highlighted in the streamed event, and access to interactive DIY home, decor, and design workshops. 

– Event package that will be mailed to your home the week of the event, to enjoy as we watch together on June 5th. Event packages include exclusive PATH wine glasses, premium wine, travel safe charcuterie items, and more. Please see ticket types for details on each package. 

Tickets can be purchased https://www.eventbrite.com/e/path-making-it-home-tour-tickets-142755408269

All proceeds from this event go towards PATH’s mission of ending homelessness for individuals, families, and communities.

For more information about PATH, visit www.epath.org.

More Than $13 Million in Rental and Utility Assistance Funds Made Available by the County of Santa Barbara through United Way of Santa Barbara County

Grants intend to prevent homelessness by providing rent assistance to residents. Grant applications can be found by visiting unitedwaysb.org/rent.

United Way of Santa Barbara County (UWSBC) has more than $13 million in rental and utility assistance funds generously allocated by the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors for eligible County of Santa Barbara residents, that have experienced a loss of income due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This Emergency Rent Assistance Program is intended to prevent homelessness by providing rent assistance to residents who can demonstrate the need for rental support.

Upon application approval, applicants may receive up to $6,000 over 3 months toward rental and utility expenses. Applicants can re-apply every 3 months up to maximum of 15 months. Assistance payments to applicants will be paid directly to landlord and/or utility providers on behalf of the applicant.

 “This rental and utility support is a lifeline for families who are dealing with the myriad of economic impacts due to COVID-19,” said Steve Ortiz, President and CEO of United Way of Santa Barbara County. “We are honored to have the County of Santa Barbara’s trust and partnership as we work to distribute these funds and provide significant relief to Santa Barbara County individuals and families during these difficult times,” said Ortiz.

The program will be available to all county residents at or below 80 percent of the Area Median Income (AMI), though qualifying individuals at or below 50 percent AMI will be prioritized. This program has strict eligibility requirements.

The program application process opened February 15 and will be available until all funds are expended or by December 30, 2021, whichever is first. To review eligibility requirements and to apply, please visit www.unitedwaysb.org/rent

About United Way of Santa Barbara County 

United Way of Santa Barbara County (UWSBC) has the unique and positive vision that “in our community, everyone has a hopeful future.” Since 1923, UWSBC has served Santa Barbara County community through funding, volunteer development, and by utilizing its own unique initiatives that involve dozens of local nonprofit and public sector agencies. UWSBC’s local community driven Power of Partnership™ priorities help children, families and seniors with a focus on Education, Income and Health. To learn more, please visit unitedwaysb.org

Santa Barbara Foundation’s Social Good

Writing this inaugural issue of The Giving List has entailed speaking with and studying the work of 52 of Santa Barbara’s most important nonprofit organizations. Throughout, I have discerned a vibrant and brave nonprofit community, staring down the crisis we all have behind and before us with purpose and commitment.

At the heart of all this community stands the Santa Barbara Foundation, which in its tenth decade has weathered many storms, emerging as Santa Barbara County’s key convener and catalyst for positive change. A look back into the Foundation’s history and its strategy offer a salve and strength for the uncertain future we face together. 

“If there has ever been a question as to the need of the Foundation in Santa Barbara, it would certainly seem that the present emergency facing the country would justify the existence of such an institution,” said Charles B. Raymond, the Santa Barbara Community Foundation’s first president, in 1930 as the Depression brought desperation to so many Santa Barbara residents. 

Then – as now – the Foundation stepped into quick action, offering emergency employment for workers to improve city property, and by supporting the Red Cross Sewing Project that paid women to make clothes for citizens in need. Facing child hunger during the Depression, which is disturbingly ubiquitous today, the Foundation contributed to the Community Chest Milk Fund, which helped young children gain weight and fight off tuberculosis.  

In the 1940s, the world was at war and Santa Barbara County was struggling through years of severe drought. The Santa Barbara Foundation jumped into action, seeking plans to retain more water, and defraying the travel expenses of two county supervisors to plead for the construction of the Bradbury Dam, which would, at least before the ravages of climate change further strained the water supply, ensure that the shortages of the 1940s were not to be repeated. 

Following the Civil Rights gains of the 1960s, the 1970s saw the emergence of environmentalism in Santa Barbara and the creation of a nonprofit infrastructure to meet the social justice challenges coming into ever starker relief here and across the nation.

“The Foundation must broaden its assistance in the community to meet current needs,” said then-Foundation President Harold W. Beard. “The pattern of giving followed in its past history must be reviewed in light of changing times and problems.” 

Catalyzed by a devastating oil spill off the Santa Barbara coast in 1969, local activists came together to create the Community Environmental Council. With significant Foundation support, the council would, in 1975, start the nation’s first-ever recycling center, an achievement with long reverberating implications. In 2020, the organization celebrated its 50th Anniversary of Earth Day in Santa Barbara, the oldest event of its kind.  

During this era, social issues like child abuse and sexual violence were met with Foundation-supported, sector-leading nonprofits including CALM (Child Abuse Listening & Mediation) and Standing Together to End Sexual Assault then known as the Santa Barbara Rape Crisis Center. Capital contributions to the Boys & Girls Clubs created the network of physical locations that are so important to working families today.

Laurie Leis, the executive vice president of advancement at United Boys & Girls Clubs of Santa Barbara, remembers looking at a Boys & Girls’ budget from 1938 and seeing a $250 donation from the Santa Barbara Foundation. “They are always the first ones to come in and say, we are going to help,” Leis says. “They are the voice for us. They bring a call to action when so many voices go unheard in this community. The Foundation is the voice of the hungry, the homeless, the families in need.” 

In 2018, the Santa Barbara Foundation launched an ambitious five-year plan focused on eight “priorities for impact.” Consistent with its history, the Santa Barbara Foundation studied the landscape and identified the most pressing issues of need, ranging from food insecurity to homelessness and a frayed and inadequate childcare system. 

“We wanted to broaden our reach by narrowing our focus, and we found that a handful of key social and economic challenges reverberate into every aspect of Santa Barbara County’s health and well-being,” said Foundation President & CEO Jackie Carrera. 

The Foundation immediately went to work to support vulnerable populations in areas of behavioral health, health care, food, shelter, and safety, while uplifting working families in the areas of childcare, workforce development, and workforce housing. The Collaboration for Social Impact was developed to advance the strength and capacity of nonprofits, and, by virtue of the Foundation’s stature in the community, guiding individual and institutional funders to focus attention on pressing issues in the community. While thoughtful, the Foundation couldn’t have imagined how prescient the strategy would prove. 

“As we navigate the COVID-19 pandemic, social injustices, and economic worries, we are confident that our focus on vulnerable populations and working families is the correct direction,” Carrera said. “We have already experienced increasing need and will continue to follow our strategy to provide critical support in these areas.”

Like Foundation presidents before her, Carrera immediately recognized the need and, with her team, got to work. In March 2020, the Foundation reactivated its Community Disaster Relief Fund, which had been established in the wake of the 1/9 Debris Flow. Days later, the Foundation, in collaboration with United Way, the Hutton Parker Foundation, and the Foundation Roundtable, launched the COVID-19 Joint Response Effort to provide funding to nonprofits responding to Santa Barbarans mounting emergency needs. By the end of October, a 34-member funders’ collaborative that the Foundation co-leads has mobilized over $18.9 million to support individuals and nonprofits in Santa Barbara County. 

Carrera noted, “with decades of community knowledge, a tradition of diverse, meaningful support, and outstanding stewardship of community investments, the Santa Barbara Foundation is well-positioned to support the health and vibrancy of Santa Barbara County, now and for decades to come.” 

Making it Home

From 2015 through 2020, homelessness in Santa Barbara County grew by roughly 10% to 1,897 men, women and children. The deep and worsening economic crisis brought on by COVID-19 suggests that this trend will not simply continue but accelerate.

Enter PATH (People Assisting the Homeless), a statewide nonprofit dedicated to ending homelessness and equipped to help many of our neighbors experiencing homelessness move off the street and into homes of their own.

“We could end homelessness in this community,” says Tessa Madden Storms, PATH Santa Barbara’s regional director. “It has been done with larger populations.” 

Across the state, PATH serves 20% of the homeless population and has housed more than 10,000 individuals. While this may seem like a drop in the bucket compared to the state’s 150,000-plus homeless population, it is an astounding feat considering it was accomplished by a single nonprofit.

The trick, Madden Storms explains, is the agency’s comprehensive, research-driven approach. Alongside permanent supportive housing, PATH runs rapid re-housing, housing navigation, interim housing, and employment programs. 

A cornerstone effort the organization is undertaking here in Santa Barbara focuses on housing and intensive care for the county’s 24 most-in-need houseless individuals. 

“These neighbors are the most visible. The people you see panhandling on State Street,” says JB Bowlin, associate director of philanthropy and volunteers. “The highest utilizers of public services.” 

A seminal study out of Denver, where a similar program was launched, found that half had better health outcomes, mental health improved for 43 percent, while substance abuse dropped significantly. While expensive, moving chronically homeless individuals off the street and surrounding them with intensive support services is 45% cheaper than doing nothing. 

PATH’s interim housing program serves some 600 people a year, many of whom take advantage of the organization’s suite of other programs.

“We are focused on ending homelessness holistically, and we understand how to get there from every different angle,” Madden Storms says. “Our vision is to end homelessness across the community. We strive to make sure everyone can make it home permanently.”