The sun had been up barely an hour Wednesday, when the line of homeless people was already extending across the Casa Esperanza parking lot. It was December 1st, the first day of winter shelter, when Casa Esperanza expands its bed capacity exponentially—from 100 to 200—so people without homes can claim a dry, warm bunk to get them through the winter in one piece.
But with the process being first come, first serve, and the perils of sleeping outside in cold weather brought home with the recent possible hypothermia death of Robert Bunch, some of people in line were anxious about there being spaces left. Inclement weather had brought 79 people into the shelter early this year, so only 21 beds were unclaimed on Wednesday.
Forty-six year old Lisa was far back in the line. Her knees keep her from walking easily and so she relies on a wheel chair. She said she’s been staying at The Santa Barbara Rescue Mission but was just told on Tuesday she was no longer welcome there. Now, it was going to be Casa Esperanza or the street, she said.
“They threw me out yesterday and told me I had a bed here,” she said. She did not sound especially confident that there was one. To read more, see homelessinsb.org.