Being homeless is not what everyone out there thinks it is; anyone can end up homeless in the time it takes to miss two paychecks. It's hard for us to get jobs because of the address we use on the application. There are a lot of pre-conceived notions, as to how someone home-challenged will act in a job situation. The first thought is this person will not show up on time, and if they do, they will not be prepared to perform job tasks as required by the employer.
This for the most part is very wrong. Most people in this situation are educated and willing to do the job at hand. When we are able to get jobs we are grateful that someone has chosen one of us to trust and do the job. We therefore do the job to the best of our knowledge and ability.
So our questions are the same throughout the homeless community: How can we prove ourselves if no one will give us the opportunity to do so? Instead of giving out tickets and putting the homeless in jail because they have nowhere to go and end up falling asleep outside, find a way to put the homeless to work and let them be productive.
It is the only way to lessen the blight of homelessness in this and every other city in the country. The Bible says "Give a man a fish and he eats for one day, teach a man to fish and he eats everyday." This is so true and yet it seems we are the only ones who see this. Have some heart Santa Barbara. Give us a chance and we will show you what we can do.
Sisters in Homelessness
Within you will find my business plan and our plea as sisters in homelessness to help bring this plan to fruition.
To help the women who are sleeping outside or walking the streets of Santa Barbara all night, every night. We are trying to do this on our own level, not on the official level where it has to be done their way or no way.
I want to create a home-like environment where women on the streets can come in to rest at night, whether it's to find a mat on the floor to spend the night, or to just warm up and have a cup of coffee. I want to be able to have food available, good food. I want to have clothing available, from socks and underwear to warm jackets and sleeping bags. A place with beds, even if they are just mats on the floor. We are trying to get donations so we can fund this new creation into the here and now, as well as into the future so no woman in Santa Barbara ever has to walk the streets all night just so they don't get tickets they can't pay. or end up in jail because they have warrants for tickets they can't pay.
Because of how the shelters work during non-winter-shelter months (December 1 to April 1) every year, a lot of women out there spend the rest of every year outside because they are unable to fit into shelter groups the rest if the year. One shelter in Santa Barbara charges summers residents two thirds of their income, one part to be saved and the other part for rent during these months to stay in the facility. If there is no income available then it is very hard to get in unless the ladies have severe medical or mental problems.
This leaves a vast majority of women in this city excluded from a housing source. One shelter has the ability to house 49 women, but they only use about half those beds during the spring and summer months. They have 150 beds for men, yet men are better able to take care of themselves in the streets than women are. Another shelter in Santa Barbara will house women for ten days a month, after which extended stays require approval from the program manager.
The facility I want to start will have a few rules that will only exclude the very intoxicated and those who only want to cause disruptions. If a woman from the streets can come in and be civil and peaceful we will allow her to come in and rest, and of course get every kind of help we can offer.
We also want to have a side of this program for married couples on a limited basis. Our main goal is to help women of the streets get off the streets to be safe and warm without harassment from legal agencies, or interference, or other street dangers.
So, Santa Barbara, we are counting on your good grace as a wonderful city, with very kind-hearted people, to help this plan come into reality.
Please help us so we can help them.