Tag Archives: veterans

New Beginnings Establishes Financial Assistance Fund for Veterans with the Help of the Combat Veterans Motorcycle Association

New Beginnings is honored to announce its partnership with the Combat Veterans Motorcycle Association, Chapter 33-4 to provide a financial assistance fund to 16 veterans living at Johnson Court. Johnson Court is the first all-veteran housing development in Santa Barbara and is managed by the Housing Authority of the City of Santa Barbara. Since Johnson Court’s opening in February 2020, New Beginnings has served as the on-site supportive services specialist, ensuring veterans retain their housing and have the resources needed to thrive in their new home.  https://sbnbcc.org/ 

Kristine Schwarz, Executive Director of New Beginnings said, “We are so grateful to receive support from the Combat Veterans Motorcycle Association. Their generosity has enabled us to create community and a welcoming environment for the Veterans at Johnson Court, something that has been especially important this last year. Their assistance has helped immeasurably, and we are delighted that they have joined with us in honoring our local Veterans.”

Rhandi LaChonce, Supportive Services Specialist at Johnson Court, “Through their donations, I have been able to improve the quality of life of several of our Veterans. For example, I was able to replace the batteries and wheels for three electronic mobility devices, enabling our Veterans to travel in Santa Barbara without worrying about their devices breaking down. This has made a huge impact in their lives.” 

The Combat Veterans Motorcycle Association 33-4 Chapter, which covers the Central Coast, held a fundraiser and provided the initial donation of $2,000 this past winter to launch the fund. They are holding another fundraiser on June 5 in partnership with Good Ride Rally. Since launching the fund, New Beginnings has also used the funds to purchase bedding and various household items, a Christmas feast, and Netflix accounts. Having a funding source to readily tap into has allowed New Beginnings to be more responsive to meeting the needs of their veteran clients. 

The Combat Veterans Motorcycle Association is a national association of combat veterans from all branches of the United States Armed Forces who ride motorcycles as a hobby. Their mission is to support and protect those who have defended our country and our freedoms – Veterans Helping Veterans. The 33-4 Chapter represents the Central Coast from Santa Barbara to Monterey.

New Beginnings provides quality, affordable counseling, shelter, case management and education that strengthens our community and provides our clients with the ability to lead healthy and productive lives. New Beginning, 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 development@sbnbcc.org.

A New Beginning for Santa Barbara’s Most Vulnerable

While New Beginnings’ work began with its counseling services more than 50 years ago, it has grown into a countywide service agency not only supporting mental health, but also the homeless and vets.

“We’re here to serve our most vulnerable community members with their most pressing problems,” says Development Manager Michael Berton. “We’ve identified those to be mental illness and homelessness. We’ve seen the veteran population struggle with these areas even more and have a dedicated program for them now.”

A major turning point came in 2003, when the nonprofit partnered with the city and the county to launch the “Safe Parking” Program, which provides safe, overnight shelter in monitored parking lots for people living out of their cars. The 2020 homeless count found that 51% of Santa Barbara County’s unsheltered residents were living out of their cars. 

When Safe Parking was started, big media outlets including Rolling Stone, CNN, and The Los Angeles Times took notice, lauding the program as a way off the streets for those on the brink of homelessness. Since 2003, New Beginnings has moved more than 2,000 people into permanent housing, making Safe Parking a standout among myriad national initiatives aimed at mitigating the deepening homelessness crisis.

New Beginnings is also the leading nonprofit service provider for homeless veterans in Santa Barbara County, housing 100 veterans and their families each year, all while providing comprehensive services aimed at keeping them off the street.

The agency’s 50-year-old Counseling Center in downtown Santa Barbara provides mental health counseling and psychological testing and assessment to more than 600 at-risk individuals and families in the greater Santa Barbara area each year. It’s 30-plus masters and doctoral level counselors offer their services at an average of $13 per session thanks to the nonprofits exceedingly lean operation: 91% of revenue is spent on programs and clients.

In 2020, the agency put more than a quarter of its $2 million a year budget – $600,000 – back into the community; buying mattresses for its homeless clients, renting storage spaces, and covering rental costs. Whatever it takes to help.

For donors looking to make an impact and who want to know that their money is going straight into helping people, Berton frankly says: “New Beginnings is the most bang for your buck.”