Sep 9, 2013 7:01 PM by April Hansen, KSBY

Study shows Santa Barbara County continues to struggle with poverty

New numbers show Santa Barbara County continues to struggle with poverty.

The Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors got a report on the latest numbers to help them develop new strategies and programs for low income families in the area.

The report is called "A Snapshot of Poverty in Santa Barbara County."

There are pages of facts and figures to help pinpoint where the problems are in the county.

"We are busting at the seams trying to help these families as much as we can," said Good Samaritan Shelter Program Manager Kirsten Cahoon.

The Good Samaritan Shelter in Santa Maria is full and program manager Kirsten Cahoon says there are more families living in poverty that need their help.

"Even if they are working a minimum wage job, it's still not enough at all to find any sort of housing that is sustainable for them," said Cahoon.

Cahoon says the shelter has been over-capacity since last year.

"I think we are definitely not out of the hole," said Cahoon.

A county report says more than 57,000 people are living below the federal poverty line.

"Most people know when you look at Santa Barbara County that the areas that are struggling most with poverty are Lompoc, Isla Vista, the western part of Santa Barbara and northwest Santa Maria," said 5th District Supervisor Steve Lavagnino.

In those areas, 53% percent of residents live in poverty.

Supervisor Lavagnino says it's a fight the county has tried to win for years. He says there needs to be a better solution

"What are the strategies we are going to use to start getting people jobs and bring those people out of poverty? The government can't fight this war. It has to come from the private sector developing jobs and creating jobs," said Lavagnino.

Lavagnino says these numbers are no surprise to the board. They've known about them for years, but he says it could be a good tool for local organizations.

The $60,000 study was funded by the Santa Barbara Foundation and a federal grant




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