WEATHER »

Day Late, A Dollar Short


Former homeless advocate and well-known Santa Barbara street person James Lee Magruder, 44, died Monday at Cottage Hospital just a day before the City Council committed research funds aimed at ending chronic homelessness in Santa Barbara. Magruder’s story underlines the basic argument touted by those championing the study — that Santa Barbara County wastes millions of dollars by ineffectively addressing the problems related to homelessness. Magruder, for instance, was cited or arrested by Santa Barbara police 848 times since 1982, mostly for public intoxication, but also civil disobedience and assault. Over two-plus decades, Magruder checked in and out of the county jail and Cottage Hospital’s emergency room countless times, at great cost to the county.

Roger Heroux, the county’s former health czar, estimated there were 6,200 homeless people countywide; roughly half of those, Heroux said, reside on the South Coast, sapping local government resources by some $18 million per year. Add in the cost of jailing them, Heroux added, and that number spikes considerably. By investing in more cost-effective ways to serve and house the chronically homeless, Heroux and other homeless advocates contend the county could save millions of dollars each year

To submit a comment on this article, email letters@independent.com or visit our Facebook page. To submit information to a reporter, email tips@independent.com.



Be succinct, constructive, and relevant to the story. Leaving a comment means you agree to our Discussion Guidelines. We like civilized discourse. We don't like spam, lying, profanity, harassment or personal attacks.

comments powered by Disqus
event calendar sponsored by:

Montecito Manhunt Underway for Third Suspect

Police have been searching since Wednesday evening for three burglary suspects; two are in custody.

Cruces Fire Update

Thursday morning report from County Fire expects full containment by this evening.

Young and Poor in Santa Barbara

Teens gathered for annual summit on safety and wellness.

County Redistricting Measures Head to Ballot

Voters will decide on a commission to change supervisor district boundaries.

Lompoc Approves Cannabis Lounge

City location allows on-site consumption.