I am a Santa Barbara native and have two children who are also born and raised here. It concerns me to see so many homeless, more than ever before. When I was little there were many homeless sleeping in the “big fig tree” near the railroad tracks. They spread to State Street and parks, and this past year they have spread to freeway on/off ramps. We are not far from major tent cities popping up like we see happening in Los Angeles. Unfortunately, Los Angeles didn’t nip it early, and now they are paying a very dear price for neglecting this issue.
This is certainly not an easy situation to resolve. I read a letter recently drafted by a local business owner who said it isn’t a housing issue and urged us to stop relying on the homeless to voluntarily check themselves into the supportive facilities. It was also pointed out that we unfortunately value personal freedoms over the well-being of the homeless population. I agree. Our approach over the last several years is systematically failing, badly. I realize COVID has made it much worse this past year, and I am relieved to see efforts being made recently to address this problem.
My heart goes out to the people who are homeless. My heart goes out to the business owners who are often left alone to tackle this problem. My disappointment goes out to our city officials and community who can and should do a better job. I include myself in that; there must be more we can do. We are a wealthy, educated, caring community and we can and must do better. Can you please share links, info, etc. of ways we can help improve the homeless situation in our beautiful community, help the homeless people and help clean up our town?