To solve homelessness for a night, you need a shelter. To solve it for good, you need work. This is the message of a New York City–nonprofit called The Doe Fund. Since 1990, its Ready, Willing & Able programs have been a remarkable success both civically and financially. What is so unique? To be eligible for housing, food, and services, you are required to work. What do the homeless get? Safe housing, nutritious meals, drug prevention, GEDs, career counseling, job placement, further education, and stipends from the work programs. So what does the community get? A much better one at a reduced price.
Santa Barbara area shelters can learn plenty from any of the five Ready, Willing & Able facilities. Our current business model of providing for the homeless is not effective. Take a walk through Chase Palm Park to see for yourself. Mandatory work programs are the proven solution and should be the standard for all area shelters. Santa Barbara is both an innovative and generous town. We are all capable working for our food.