Thank you for continuing to support our vision of justice and peace in the city of Santa Barbara. It has been a busy and triumphant month of events, fundraising, and housing veterans! As we look to 2016, I am eager to begin working with more individuals experiencing homelessness to find sustainable housing.
So far, we have partnered to house four veterans (though the city itself has housed dozens!).
Last week, D.M. (for the sake of privacy) moved into a housing unit after being homeless for 8 years. I partnered with case managers at PATH and the VA to help with the application process, obtain a VASH voucher, retrieve his DD-214 (discharge paperwork), and motivate sobriety. Retrieving the keys to his new apartment marked the end of his homelessness, and I only wish you could have seen the relief in his dear face. He beamed as he picked out his bedspread and tested the mailbox and bike lock keys. “Everything is wonderful!” was repeated an immeasurable amount of times. I will now be following up with him monthly to assist with other supportive services, as the adjustment can be difficult. I am grateful for the location he is at, as they partner with a local counseling program and offer many community oriented events and outings.
At the beginning of December, G.A. was reunified up north to live in a house with some old friends. The process to obtaining an ID down here was slow and frustrating for him, so he made the decision to accept this new and unexpected offer. To the best of my knowledge the situation is stable and healthy. The choice was hard, but I assured him I would continue checking in and be available should he face homelessness again. G.A.’s dedication and desire proves to be admirable and I am grateful to partake in his life.
In the grand scheme of things, I recently listened in on a Mayor’s Challenge National Call and was informed of other states accomplishing the goal of ending veteran homelessness. As I still look at the challenge with wide eyes, I want to continue with encouragement (though Santa Barbara presents many different obstacles than other areas) that this is attainable. I was able to share this with our own mayor, Helene Schneider, at a Policy Council meeting downtown earlier this week.
As I turn to begin taking on more cases in the New Year, your prayers and support are irreplaceable. There is great restoration that has yet to come and I thank you for walking with me!
Merry Christmas, friends!
Peace to you,