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Increase in need for homeless services following this year's storms

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Posted at 4:55 PM, Mar 30, 2023

Santa Maria's, Good Samaritan Shelter is seeing an increased need for homeless services after multiple central coast storms this year.

The shelter's director of homeless services, Kirsten Cahoon told KSBY that their warming shelters in Santa Barbara County have been open more days this year so far, than any other previous year, due to the weather.

Despite the increase in need this year, the shelter says they never turn away women, children, or veterans.

"We've definitely seen an increase in the amount of homelessness in our city and the amount of homeless that are seeking services," Cahoon told KSBY. "A lot of the folks that maybe were usually OK out there when we had one or two days of rain in the month, have been having to come out and look for services because of the amount of weather we've been having."

Cahoon said that they do their best to take in everyone, but if they reach capacity, they do have an overflow room where they can fit an extra 10 to 15 beds. If the shelter is completely full, then shelter staff will refer those folks to their warming shelters.

"This year has been really tough on our homeless. If the warming shelters didn't exist in our cities, I think we would have seen a lot of fatalities among the homeless," Cahoon said. "It's one thing to be cold but it's another thing to be wet and not to have dry clothes."