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Santa Maria Sun / News

The following article was posted on February 12th, 2013, in the Santa Maria Sun - Volume 13, Issue 49 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [santamariasun.com] - Volume 13, Issue 49

Common Ground data starts trickling out

BY AMY ASMAN

Volunteers contacted nearly 1,500 homeless individuals and families while conducting the Common Ground Santa Barbara County vulnerability index survey in late January, public health officials announced at the Board of Supervisors meeting on Feb. 5.

Of the 1,445 people surveyed, most live on their own in Santa Barbara (927), Santa Maria (300), Lompoc (101), or Isla Vista (81). Volunteers also contacted 174 families without a permanent place to live, including 89 in Santa Maria, 62 in Santa Barbara, and 17 in Lompoc.

Dr. David Lennon with the Public Health Department told the board that not all of the people contacted will be included in the database because volunteers weren’t able to collect enough information about their living situations.

However, Lennon said he’s optimistic about how the data they did collect will be used.

“With this new information we have lots of work to do, but this ongoing research is vital to providing resources and housing to our homeless neighbors in Santa Barbara County,” he said.

In June 2012, the board allocated $75,000 to create the Central Coast Collaborative on Homelessness (CH3) to better organize the county’s homeless service agencies, including Common Ground.

Since then, CH3 has found a fiscal agent, hired a facilitator and coordinator, and streamlined communication among government agencies, nonprofits, and businesses.

In her presentation to the board, Assistant CEO Terri Maus-Nisich said CH3 also set a budget for one year, combining the $75,000 from the county with funding from the city of Santa Barbara and the Santa Barbara and Second Story foundations, for a total of $250,000.

The newly formed CH3 policy board will have its first meeting on Feb. 14 at 9 a.m. at the Public Health Department, 300 N. San Antonio Road, in Santa Barbara.

The board is composed of supervisors Doreen Farr (3rd District) and Steve Lavagnino (5th District) and representatives from local city governments.

“I think our efforts [prior to CH3] were pretty good, but fragmented despite everyone’s best efforts,” Farr said at the Board of Supervisors meeting.