Informational Meeting To Be Held Monday to Educate Students, Find Solutions to Homelessness
The Social Ventures Partners of Santa Barbara and the Central Coast Collaborative on Homelessness (C3H) will host a free event, Homelessness Action Summit, next Monday to discuss solutions to homelessness on the central coast.
According to a 2013 survey conducted by C3H, Santa Barbara County hosts a population of 1,466 individuals living in shelters with about 81 homeless individuals in the Isla Vista and Goleta area. In light of this issue, the summit — which will take place at Campbell Hall — will examine the current and previously implemented measures to reduce and prevent homelessness. The summit, organized in collaboration with UCSB Arts & Lectures, the McCune Foundation and Santa Barbara Foundation, will feature two speakers: Phillip Mangano, president and CEO of the American Roundtable to Abolish Homelessness, and Becky Kanis, director of the 100,000 Homes Campaign.
Both of these organizations seek to address, reduce and prevent homelessness on a national level. The American Roundtable to Abolish Homelessness focuses on finding solutions to alleviating homeless in local communities nationwide, while the 100,000 Homes Campaign is a national movement working to place 100,000 of America’s homeless in permanent housing by July 2014.
In partnership with 100,000 Homes Campaign and C3H, non-profit organization Common Ground Santa Barbara County Homeless Advocacy Project also works to combat street homelessness and will be present during the summit.
Claudia Lopez, a volunteer coordinator for Common Ground Santa Barbara County, said the event was planned as a response to current community attention addressing homelessness.
“There is interest in the community to make positive change happen, and C3H wanted to help further foster that enthusiasm through this event,” Lopez said.
According to Glenn Bacheller, leader of the Homelessness and Low-Income Housing unit for Social Venture Partners, homelessness has been a major issue in Santa Barbara for years. He said the event will bring new solutions to the table and encourage more community members to step up and volunteer for the cause.
“We hope to educate people on this issue and keep attention on it. We also hope to recruit and engage more people to volunteer,” Bacheller said in an email. “Lastly, we hope that an idea or two that works in another community might be considered and/or adopted in our county.”
According to Lopez, students can volunteer for local homeless communities by joining aid organizations on campus and in the larger community — such as Street Health Outreach and Common Ground Santa Barbara County.
“There are many misperceptions about people living on the streets, and I have been along for the journey as people are on the cusp of becoming homeless,” Lopez said in an email. “Getting to know people directly through an organization that is experienced and can share best practices is a great way to learn what you can do on a daily basis.”
Lopez’s advice directly addresses first-year biopsychology major Jacy Purkiss’s concern over college students’ lack of involvement in issues of homelessness throughout the community. Purkiss said students might feel too preoccupied with studies to help out, although this may be associated with a lack of knowledge on how to assist and where to find information.
“I think people are very aware that we have a large population of homeless people,” Purkiss said. “I know that college kids have very busy lives so oftentimes they’re so busy they can’t [help].”
The original version of this article stated “Santa Barbara County hosts a population of 1,466 individuals” without clarifying that this figure specifically refers to those living in shelters. The online version has been updated to correct this inaccuracy.
A version of this story appeared on page 4 of Thursday, February 20, 2014′s print edition of the Daily Nexus.