The Santa Barbara City Council decided unanimously on Tuesday to allocate $202,100 for the homeless shelter operated by People Assisting the Homeless (PATH) and to fund $200,000 for both a community collaborative and Neighborhood Navigation Centers through the S.B. Alliance for Community Transformation (SB ACT). The renewal of funding came with proposed changes.
One of the main new provisions is that PATH, which operates an interim housing program and provides resources toward basic needs and case management, will reserve up to seven beds a night for persons referred by city contractors, staff, and service providers, such as CityNet and the police department. PATH will submit quarterly reports to city staff and annual presentations before the Planning Commission regarding the use of those beds.
Councilmember Michael Jordan and two public commenters were concerned about PATH’s accountability, as well as its effectiveness in helping homeless individuals who don’t seek services themselves. “I’m not really interested in spending $200,000 a year for 2,500 bed nights for people who don’t want to go to a bed,” Jordan said.
In response, Councilmember Eric Friedman emphasized the provisions that would mandate accountability from PATH. He also warned that choosing not to fund PATH would cost the city “not only those seven [beds] but additional ones, which would hamper our ability to get people off the streets or do enforcement.”
Both Jordan and Friedman expressed positive views of SBACT as an effective and flexible organization. Mayor Randy Rowse agreed and stressed the importance of keeping “an open channel of communication” with PATH.