Santa Maria Sun / News
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [santamariasun.com] - Volume 14, Issue 50
Lompoc's Zona Seca shutters
BY AMY ASMAN
Zona Seca, or “dry place” in Spanish, closed the doors to its Lompoc office on Feb. 14, citing financial hardship. The center helped combat the effects of addiction, truancy, and gang violence in the local community for more than 13 years.
In a recent interview with the Sun, Executive Director Frank Bañales said the center’s enrollment has been in decline for about 2-1/2 years.
“There are not enough enrollments to draw down the dollars [to pay for services],” Bañales said.
The Santa Barbara County Superior Court system, the probation department, and county social services referred all of Zona Seca’s clients, Bañales explained, so as other service providers came to the area, the competition for funding became fiercer.
“The community couldn’t support three agencies,” he said.
As of Feb. 17, all of Zona Seca’s clients were transitioned into other programs with local providers, including Coast Valley Substance Abuse Center, Good Samaritan Shelter, and more.
Staff members of Zona Seca’s Lompoc office are currently being interviewed by the other organizations, said Bañales, who expects the center’s three counselors and handful of office managers to find work soon.
“I don’t really see them being without jobs for long,” he said.
Zona Seca’s Santa Barbara location will remain open.