Santa Barbara County leaders look for ways to help homeless

Posted at 4:17 PM, Sep 11, 2018
and last updated 2018-09-11 19:17:36-04

Santa Barbara County Supervisors voted Tuesday to tackle the homelessness crisis on the Central Coast with a new state program.

The Homelessness Emergency Aid Program, also known as HEAP, would make Santa Barbara County eligible to receive $9 million from the state. The money would be used to help homeless people find job opportunities. The goal is to help them get back on their feet and off the streets for good.

"The only real way to solve homelessness is to meet these people one-on-one and find out what their problems are. To do that, though, costs money. We have to be prepared with services to back up what the person needs," said Steve Lavagnino, Santa Barbara County 5th District Supervisor.

The supervisors also adopted a resolution to declare a "shelter crisis" in order to receive HEAP funding.  This means there are more people needing shelter than there are resources available.