On June 9, PATH (People Assisting the Homeless) Santa Barbara held its second annual Making It Home Tour, which featured four lovely Santa Barbara residences. The 260 guests were transported by historic trolleys, enjoyed wine and gourmet treats at every stop, and ended the day with a party at the Riviera residence of Jodi and Johnny Goldberg (the creator of the fitness phenomenon spinning).
Guests were greeted on board the trolleys by PATH staff members and volunteers. Our guides, including PATH S.B. Program Director Chuck Flacks, gave us an overview of the comprehensive services PATH Santa Barbara provides to move homeless individuals into permanent housing.
The Goldbergs participated in the event last year, opening their Montecito residence to guests. After that home was destroyed in the 1/9 Debris Flow, the Goldbergs quickly relocated, decorated, and once again welcomed guests into their home for the tour and closing reception. Jodi Goldberg shared that after the debris flow, they received so much support from the community. “We believe everyone should feel this same sense of security, which is why we are so happy to be a part of this event.”
Also on the tour was Simon and Diana Raab’s magnificent villa on Knapp Hill, a nearly 11,000 square foot home that blends classic and modern design and features some of Simon’s acclaimed artwork. The home is for sale for $16.5 million. Not far away but an entire world apart in style was Soren and Kim Kieler’s Balinese oasis on Hot Springs Road, complete with four thatched cabanas dotting the idyllic, tropical grounds. And Denny and Bitsy Bacon’s lovely Mission Canyon abode evoked plenty of gasps with its jaw-dropping mountain views.
PATH Santa Barbara, which merged with Casa Esperanza in July 2015, operates an interim housing facility where it provides homeless individuals with services to improve their health, increase their income, and transition to stable housing. PATH has 60 beds in its main program, and another 20 beds under contract with Cottage Health for respite care, 24 beds with the Department of Behavioral Wellness, and 10 beds with S.B. Police for its Restorative Policing Program. All of these residents benefit from an array of services designed to move them into permanent housing, including intensive case management, employment assistance, medical care (an on-site clinic staffed by S.B. County Public Health), mental health services, and substance use treatment.
From January to May of this year, the main program served 180 clients, while 194 were served under the Cottage contract, 41 under the Behavioral Wellness contract, and seven under the S.B. Police contract. PATH’s comprehensive approach is working. Since the merger, it has moved 300 people into permanent housing. Given PATH’s priority on the chronically homeless (along with veterans), this figure is especially impressive.
For the main program, admittance requirements are to adhere to PATH’s harm reduction policy and to want to increase one’s income and have housing stability. Occasionally, PATH is at capacity, but usually, nobody is turned away for lack of space. The average stay is three to four months.
PATH Santa Barbara also operates a 100-bed inclement weather Winter Shelter Program, which is independent of the Freedom Warming Centers. The shelter program runs generally from December through March and is activated when the weather is forecast to be below 40 degrees or the forecast calls for two days where the chance of rain is at least 50 percent. From January to May this year, the shelter served 278 unduplicated clients.
PATH Santa Barbara receives funding from every level of government, which together makes up 60-70 percent of its budget, necessitating significant fundraising from the private sector. It has many public and private sector partners and hundreds of volunteers. Last year, about 500 volunteers assisted staff in various capacities.
PATH was formed 34 years ago by a coalition of churches and temples in West Los Angeles. It now operates throughout California with hubs in Los Angeles, San Diego, San Jose, and Santa Barbara. For more info, go to pathsantabarbara.org.
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