Santa Barbara County’s collaborative program to address homelessness is about to embark on a new initiative to help some chronically homeless people in the city of Santa Maria.
Chuck Flacks, executive director of Central Coast Collaborative on Homelessness (C3H), told the Santa Maria City Council about his program’s plans at its March 21 meeting.
C3H’s January Point in Time Homeless count showed that volunteers identified about 335 homeless people in the city of Santa Maria. Of that number, most had shelter with area groups, like Good Samaritan Shelter; 85 were without shelter. Some of those counted in the latter group are labeled chronically homeless. The point in time count was an unfunded mandate from the U.S. Housing and Urban Development Department and occurred across the nation.
C3H’s new program will focus on reducing the number of those chronically homeless people without shelter.
Flacks called the new program, “10 Now Santa Maria (2017-2018).”
The initiative is based on a program from San Luis Obispo County called “50Now,” he said.
The program will use a “housing first model to rapidly house 10 chronically homeless individuals.”
C3H will be able to accomplish this with help from a $76,000 grant from Dignity Health and Marian Regional Medical Center, and help from the Housing Authority of Santa Barbara County, which will issue 10 housing vouchers to C3H.
The grant will pay for C3H’s outreach and case management efforts.
The San Luis Obispo County program was able to help 75 people. Flacks said he hopes his program will help 20 people when complete.
Though Flacks would like to be able to help more than just 10, he said he can only respond with the resources that are available.
Responding to a question from Santa Maria City Councilman Michael Moats regarding what can be done for the about 70 other chronically homeless people in Santa Maria that won’t be covered by the 10 Now Santa Maria plan, Flacks said, “Resources are finite.”
He said C3H’s small staff, which is responsible to address homelessness throughout Santa Barbara County, has a caseload of about 20 cases per outreach position.
“C3H is on the ropes financially,” Flacks said.
“C3H receives funding for its efforts from private donations, local governments, nonprofit service providers in Santa Barbara County, including the city of Santa Maria and Marian Regional Medical Center,” said Kristine Mollenkopf, assistant Santa Maria city attorney.
C3H leaders are hoping to develop other new programs and partnerships with area businesses and United Way leaders to find revenue for its programs and its partner organizations in the county.