Did You Know, Bonnie Donovan
Landlords over the years have tried to offer their rentals to help veterans and the elderly via the City of Santa Barbara Housing Authority.
Yet the housing authority said it cannot accommodate the request to choose a tenant.
Think of the elderly landlords who feel more comfortable renting their cottage to other elderly tenants, who are more compatible to their situation in life.
In the past, a caller reported that they wanted to rent their house to several elderly females they saw sleeping to the rear of the County Administration Building in Santa Barbara. When the caller contacted the housing authority, they were told it was not allowed for a landlord to pick and choose. Another reader advised that when the housing authority was advertising a need for rentals for veterans, these landlords were turned down when they expressed that they would feel more comfortable renting to a female veteran since all would be living on the same property.
Because the housing authority chooses not to work with the landlords, now they have commercials to entice them with a $5,000 signing bonus, $5,000 for insurance and a $2,000 deposit, with two years of wrap-around services for the homeless.
Rules can be changed, just like during COVID-19 when tenants were not held responsible to pay their rent.
What harm is there in accommodating landlords willing to rent to the homeless or veterans?
Remember after the Loma Alta Fire on the Mesa, the homeless, who camped in the fire-prone areas, bumped others waiting on the bridge housing list and were located in hotels with expensive wrap-around services. That’s a prime example that rules can change.
Another homeless death due to a narcotics overdose was reported on Dec 12. These deaths continue to happen even though we are paying top dollar to City Net to prevent such tragedies.
With the present drug epidemic, our lawmakers — U.S. Rep. Salud Carbajal, D-Santa Barbara; state Sen. Monique Limón, D-Santa Barbara, and Assemblymember Steve Bennett, D-Ventura — do very little to alleviate the drug proliferation from the border.
As far as the homeless outreach companies, why can’t City Net hire the outreach staff to work in shifts that allow at least 16 hours of coverage per day to respond when needed. For what we are paying, we should expect more service.
Addiction isn’t only 8-5 p.m. Monday through Friday.
But that is when City Net works. Can you believe it?
Case in point, within a 5-mile area of West Beach for just a week in April and a week in December, police reported the following calls for service: 17 mental health crises, 20 drug-related incidents, four transient-related incidents. There were four overdoses and seven found bodies.
Remember these outreach employees were hired to alleviate the demand on the police, fire, medics and mental health crisis teams.
Who is still the responsible party responding to these incidents of drug overdose and transient street problems? The usual suspects, the police, fire, and medics.
Just imagine what these agencies could do with all these funds that get tossed to City Net with a stroke of a pen.
Oh, by the way, on Dec. 7, the Santa Barbara City Council awarded CitiNet its annual contract amount of $330,000.
All the additional monies, and it is in the millions, that they receive from city council throughout the year, are basically change-orders to their original contract.
Their bids for their services provided were not sufficient to cover their costs. So they come back for more, over and over and over.
It is $1.2 million here, $1.8 million there. Add it up; who is keeping track? It is unbelievable.
Speaking of change-orders, has anyone seen any notable changes in the homeless population and its set of circumstances: the encampments, the belongings, the trash?
“Not getting what you want either means you don’t want it enough, or you have been dealing too long with the price you have to pay.”
— Rudyard Kipling
We don’t observe a sufficient success rate for the current drug or alcohol treatment given to these homeless.
Nor does it appear that enough homeless are getting adequate services in a timely manner.
During some mental health meetings, we literally see only two or three homeless people getting drug rehab support at any given time. We aren’t talking about them getting signed up for Medicare and Medi-Cal. We are questioning the numbers who are getting drug rehabilitation and become contributing members of society.
Mexico’s drug trade is being funded by China — and we allow it to come in under the guise of humanitarian aid with open borders. When are we going to stand up and take care of our people in our town?
With the exit of Cathy Murillo as the mayor of Santa Barbara, we look forward to a new era of support for the traditions we hold dear to this beautiful city of Santa Barbara.
As mentioned in this column many times over the past few years, if good people do not stand up to support the rich traditions and unique profile of this city, it can be lost forever.
“The only way to be heard is to actually speak up.”
We have already lost some serious ground, literally, with the overbuilding that has happened and that has been approved. Let’s fight to keep our city the special, beloved place for which it is known throughout the world.
As you celebrate the holidays, please choose to shop locally for your last-minute Christmas gifts as much as possible and support Santa Barbara. Sometimes your friends and family don’t need or want anything, so consider donating money in their name to help others.
An option is donating to restoring.us, which supports residents in a local safe house for trafficked children. This year the goal is to take them horseback riding on Christmas Day.
“Christmas is not just the time for festivity and merrymaking. It is more than that. It is a time for the contemplation of eternal things. The Christmas Spirit is a spirit of giving and forgiving.”
— J.C. Penney