The program’s unique approach to dealing with homelessness maintains its commitment to helping the homeless find housing and employment, despite its own struggle to stay afloat.
The Safe Parking Program™, often regarded a model program by international media examining the homelessness crisis, has been featured by NBC Nightly News, NPR, PBS, CNN, People Magazine and the Larry King Show.“Our mission,” says Executive Director Kristine Schwarz “is to provide the support services necessary for all members of our community to thrive. This particular program aims to empower the non-traditional homeless and provide the level of stability they need to make positive change.”
“The individuals and families who are served by the Safe Parking Program™ are not only homeless,” adds Roslyn Scheuerman, one of the program’s two case managers. “They are refugees from the American Dream.” The program, founded in 2004, provides case management and outreach to the homeless population and safe overnight parking to individuals and families living in their vehicles. In 2010-2011, the program served over 800 people. “The Cities of Santa Barbara and Goleta and the County of Santa Barbara have been tremendously supportive of the program since its inception,” said Schwarz. “Without government contracts and grants, the program would be without funding. We currently operate the program at a loss to the agency.”
“Transitions are difficult for everyone, including social service agencies” said New Beginnings’ Board of Directors President Diane Pannkuk. “New Beginnings experienced administrative changes that included several months without executive leadership in 2011-2012. Consequently, we’ve launched the Bridge Fund in order to meet the Center’s financial obligations so that we can continue to provide these essential services to the community.” The Center has raised $25,000 of the $100,000 it needs by July 31st in order to keep its doors open.
Also featured in the Montecito Journal this week for its Spring Wine Tasting Event, New Beginnings offers five mental health/social service programs, including a counseling clinic on Carrillo Street – with origins dating back to the early 1970’s.
New Beginnings Counseling Center, located at 324 East Carrillo Street, Suite C, Santa Barbara, CA 93101, (805) 963-7777, is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization. For more information or to make a donation, click here.