Ernie Salomon has a good idea that the City Council should consider: campaign to collect money for a food program to feed the local unemployed and their families. The National Armory and Santa Barbara High School next door are empty. Santa Maria High School is being used for the homeless population right now. We have empty places of worship, the Veterans Memorial Building on Cabrillo.
The city Housing Authority could navigate all this for the homeless and working poor. We have all these well-funded nonprofits like City Net, United Way, PATH, Rescue Mission, Salvation Army, and the new money recipient SB ACT. We have outreach nonprofits to gather money from patrons for a special foundation. We have all the outreach leaders to gather the homeless and give them a temporary home. We have our city architects, construction, paint, electrical, and plumbing contractors to quickly adapt these large three spaces to separate studios for the 914 homeless in the last city count.
Everyone should realize that a couple of homeless people testing positive will cause more cases in this vulnerable neglected group of people. Our first responders — fire and police and emergency caregivers at Cottage will be in direct risk when attending to these sick humans.
Think big. Have a strategy for our city. Don’t wait for County Health and Board of Supervisors. You are responsible for about 90,000 people! And, I say only that number because you should close nonessential retail, hotels, airport, and train arrivals, the pier, and the harbor ASAP.
Be tough, be bold, and be brave. My Santa Barbara family and I count on you!