On Tuesday, a homeless man named Steven Reynalds submitted comments to the Santa Barbara City Council and a wide swath of the regional media claiming, among other charges, that the Santa Barbara Rescue Mission was about to kick 100 of its homeless residents out on the streets due to funding concerns. The claim is not true, according to the mission’s spokesperson Rebecca Weber, but the organization did recently ask 13 people to start transitioning away from the emergency shelter, which is supposed to only be used 10 nights a month by each individual, although extensions are common.
“Due to the recent increase in demand for our services and limited capacity, we’ve had to look at our guest list and ask those that have been staying here over 300 days in the last 12 months to start moving on,” said Weber, noting that they are being offered help to do so. “These extended stays were not a problem when we weren’t at capacity,” she said, but even with using the chapel for overflow, the mission can’t keep up with an 11 percent increase from last year, especially in the summer months, when Casa Esperanza can’t hold as many homeless due to its permit.
“I don’t envy the staff members who had to deliver this news, but they are the same ones who have to tell people arriving at our door in desperate need that there isn’t any room for them,” said Weber. “They are motivated by the latter and want to make room for those in crisis.”