The city of Goleta is asking for community feedback on how homelessness affects their lives and their city.
The input will be considered as the city continues to develop its Homelessness Strategic Plan to help guide efforts to prevent and address homelessness.
The plan will be presented to the City Council for approval when complete. The first draft will be presented to the City Council on March 3.
“The City released a survey in December of 2019 to directly hear from those with input on homelessness in our region. Staff are still taking responses to this survey through February 9, 2020,” read a city news release.
“We hope to get as much participation as possible with input from residents, businesses, service providers, and those who are or who have experienced homelessness.”
The city received around 300 responses as of December 2019.
Project Manager Dominique Samario said there were more than 400 responses as of Wednesday afternoon.
“Over 75% of respondents agreed that homelessness is a problem in Goleta and that’s why this process is so important. We want that community feedback to inform our decisions along with data and professional opinions on best practices,” said Ms. Samario.
The topics on the 13-question survey include: potential safety concerns, potential causes of homelessness and the signs of homelessness in the community.
Respondents were also asked the question, “What services would you be willing to support within the City of Goleta to assist those experiencing homelessness or to prevent homelessness?” and to select from a list of options including: day centers, job training, emergency rental assistance.
Ms. Samario said about 50 surveys were submitted by members of the homeless community. The responses revealed one overlooked service area: personal property storage lockers.
“I don’t think we talked to one person that didn’t mention that (lockers). It’s something I never would have thought of, that’s why having these conversations is so important.
“And sounds like something we should be able to work out,” said Ms. Samario.
She added that emergency rent assistance could augment existing homeless services by helping people with relatively steady housing get through a rough financial month.
“It’s much easier to help people stay off the street in the first place, but that is just one (tool) that we want feedback on.”
Those interested can voice their concerns on homelessness in person during a Feb. 19 community meeting at the Goleta Valley Community Center, located at 5679 Hollister Ave.
The event will run from 6 to 8 p.m.
Ms. Samario said city staff will present an outline of the Homelessness Strategic Plan at the Feb. 19 meeting. Ms. Samario says city staff plans to present the stages leading up to the March 3 draft plan.
“The event will serve as an opportunity for the community to get an update on efforts being taken to create the Homelessness Strategic Plan and to hear directly from City staff regarding possible strategies to address homelessness in Goleta,” read the news release.
Attendees will be asked to prioritize their preferred solutions for homelessness and identify which strategies they would not support at all.
Ms. Samario said stickers will be used to tally the votes
On Dec. 11, 2019, the city hosted a Community Open House on homelessness that was attended by around 150 people.
Ms. Samario said the city counted 119 homeless in the Goleta City limits during the Point In Time homeless count in January 2019. Homeless people spend an estimated 73 months without shelter in Goleta, one of the highest numbers in Santa Barbara County.