Santa Barbara County, CA, January 12, 2014— Two years ago, more than 500 volunteers took to the streets of Santa Barbara County during Registry Week to count and survey people experiencing homelessness. Volunteers encountered veterans, seniors, families with children, individuals who had lost their jobs, and men and women of all ages suffering from chronic health conditions. Thanks to the survey data collected on those chilly mornings, and ongoing coordination among local non-profits and government agencies, the housing and service needs of the most vulnerable in Santa Barbara County have been prioritized. Since January 2013, more than 800 people, including children, veterans, and those at risk of premature death have been housed.
Once again, teams of volunteers led by experienced outreach workers will bundle up in the early morning hours of Jan. 28 and 29 to canvass communities throughout Santa Barbara County, counting and surveying our vulnerable homeless neighbors in desperate need of a hand up. To pull off the massive effort once again, the Central Coast Collaborative on Homelessness (C3H) and Common Ground Santa Barbara County are calling on hundreds of volunteers to conduct these important surveys. Volunteers are also needed to staff survey outposts, prepare outreach materials, organize Sock & Supply Drives, and provide computer support.
“Plain and simple, we can’t do this without volunteers. Santa Barbara County residents have proven they know that everyone in this community counts,” said Jeff Shaffer, C3H Coordinator. “During our last two biennial surveys, a higher percentage of volunteers came out to help than in any other Registry Week community in the nation, and we’re counting on them again.”
Volunteers can attend one of four training sessions being held throughout the county between Jan. 14 and 24. Trainings cover everything volunteers need to know, including tips on how to outreach effectively to people experiencing homelessness. This year, a new version of the Vulnerability Index (VI) will be used: the Vulnerability Index Service Prioritization Decision Assistance Tool (VI-SPDAT), a “supertool” that combines the strengths of two existing assessments. This year, for the first time, surveys will be administered using a smartphone app that will largely replace paper surveys, limiting the need for manual data entry once the data is collected.
Sign-up to attend one of the four trainings and to volunteer on January 28 and 29 at www.commongroundsb.org.
Volunteer training sessions will be held as follows:
Lompoc/Buellton/Santa Ynez Valley: Wednesday, January 14:
5:30 – 8pm @ City of Promise Shelter - 816 N. C St, Lompoc
Isla Vista/Goleta: Thursday, January 15:
5:30 – 8pm @ Goleta Valley Community Center - 5679 Hollister Ave., Goleta
Santa Maria: Wednesday, January 21:
5:30 – 8pm @ Crestwood Christian Fellowship - 1265 W. McCoy Lane, Suite A, Santa Maria
Santa Barbara City/Carpinteria: Saturday, January 24:
10:30am – 1 pm @ Earl Warren Showground - 3400 Calle Real, Santa Barbara