Supporters of Bringing Our Community Home’s 10-Year Plan to End Chronic Homelessness urged members of the Santa Barbara Chamber of Commerce to fund their program last Thursday.

The nonprofit created the initiative to target the 10-15 percent of the approximately 6,300 transients in the county that are persistently homeless. Although chamber members asked questions about the program on Thursday, they did not voice a final decision about funding.

[media-credit name=”Daily Nexus File Photo” align=”alignleft” width=”250″][/media-credit]10-Year Plan supporter and Bringing Our Community Home board member Tom Thomas said contributions from local businesses would be critical to fighting homelessness in the county.

“We should take it upon ourselves to do what we can and collaborate with whom we can to make this a wonderful community for all,” Thomas said. “Most importantly we need to build the public and political will to end homelessness.”

Since the plan was initiated in 2007, organizers have constructed 108 public housing units in the county and hired a staff member to work with homeless people discharged at local jails.

The 10-Year Plan currently receives 34 percent of its funding from local government and 66 percent from other government grants with no significant funding from local businesses.

“We need to have collaboration from the business community and the government community, and we need to start that soon,” Thomas said.

Attendees at Thursday’s meeting also discussed the structure of community programs to place the homeless in public housing. Bringing Our Community Home Executive Director John Buttny said outreach teams are necessary to address the problems of the chronically homeless.

“The biggest building block in terms of beginning work with the homeless, the only thing that really works long time with the homeless population, is building relationships of trust,” Buttny said. “This is frustrating if you are looking for quick answers, but that’s the kind of work it takes to make a difference in dealing with the homeless.”