Interest in opening a day center for homeless people continues to quietly percolate within Santa Barbara City Hall after the City Council heard reports that a one-day pop-up center — held this July — proved successful. The pop-up center, at the Christ Presbyterian Church at 36 East Victoria Street, reportedly drew 81 homeless people. Food and cots were provided, and a cluster of service providers were on hand to connect those who wished to be connected.
City Ambassadors reported fewer homeless people were on State Street while the pop-up center was open. Library staff reported the number of homeless people using their facilities was about the same. Homeless people who attended reported they were looking for an out-of-the-way place they could shower, rest, and eat.
Day centers have long been discussed, but such talks have foundered when it came to permanent locations. The pop-up idea, pushed by Mayor Cathy Murillo, qualifies as a strategic in-between. It’s not clear when the next pop-up will take place.