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Bringing Our Community Home housing programs.

Bringing Our Community Home offers many services to qualified lower income families. One focus is on preventing homelessness in the greater Santa Barbara County community. Another objective is to offer basic needs, such as food or clothing. No matter what is offered, the Santa Barbara based agency will require people to be working towards long term self-sufficiency.

Applicants need to go through the agencies Community Services Department, and there are a few offices in the region. This is the clearinghouse, and the staff at the location provide assistance as we as advice to a range of low-income individuals. Before any type of financial aid is paid out, individuals need to go through this for an assessment.

Intake Assessment and Referral, or IAR, is a core function. A full assessment is done by Bringing Our Community Home, and it is a series of questions regarding employment, education, housing, employee skill-sets, income and health. The IAR process will give the outreach worker a better picture of the client's situation so appropriate referrals to programs can be given.

Based on the results of that, information is given to the individuals on what services they might be interested in (whether it is a grant or educational support) and how to apply. Referrals are provided for programs the agency offers as well as to other charities are available in the Santa Barbara community.

Bringing Our Community Home takes a holistic approach to resolving the issue, whether it is ending poverty or homelessness. The process starts by staff addressing basic needs, such as providing needed shelter or food. Then, as the client achieves these goals, they will progress and move on to long term financial freedom.

Case management will then occur. This is a required service for people who want assistance in reaching their employment and educational goals. It will ideally lead them to become self-sufficient. This process will involve a so called strength’s based case management approach, and it occurs each week.

As part of this process, any family that doesn’t have a state of California GED is required to attend adult basic education classes. All school-aged children that live in the household must attend school. Many other conditions are in place too.




Housing solutions from Bringing Our Community Home

In order to prevent homelessness, one time Rental or even Utility Bill Assistance may be offered. This is targeted at low income individuals and households who are at risk of being homeless. The applicant needs to have some form of income to pay able to contribute to the back rent owed, and they also need to enroll into their case management process. The amount of funding from Bringing Our Community Home is limited, and some clients are issued a loan for any overdue bills. The applicant's income must be more than rent amount so they can sustain future expenses on their own.

People who receive financial aid will also generally go through the Bringing Our Community Home Supportive Services Only Program. This will prevent future episodes of homelessness. Assistance is provided at the residence of the client until the household is stabilized and goals, such as employment or GED attainment, are achieved.

The purpose is to prevent tenants from experiencing multiple evictions or even foreclosures, and those eliminate chronic homelessness in Santa Barbara County. It is based on the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) SSO model, which is a pro-active solution.

The Single Family Owner Occupied Rehabilitation Program is run by volunteers and donations. It was designed to help low to moderate income homeowners, such as senior citizens or disabled, repair the minor components of their homes. The goal is to keep the residence safe by eliminating the hazards in the home.

For those moving from a shelter, or that have a source of income, Transitional Housing is a program that serves local families in Santa Barbara. The number for this service is (805) 966-9668. Many clients of Bringing Our Community Home are single moms, veterans, or those that were recently evicted. This is combined with the case management above, so transitional housing clients will also have a holistic approach taking on them to become self-sufficient.

After applying to Bringing Our Community Home, if chosen they move into a low income apartment or house depending on family size, income, need, and availability. In order to be eligible for these type of center, all clients must meet the federal standard for being considered homeless, have a limited income and also have documentation such as an eviction letter.





Clients in this program will need to pay their own monthly utilities and their rent is based on their income. Food or items such as clothing will be available, but at reduced costs. While in the transitional housing program they are assigned a case manager that assists them in developing a budget. It also includes finding and keeping employment as well as educational classes.

As another condition of acceptance into the Bringing Our Community Home program, all applicants must accept supportive services provided and adhere to their Individual Service Plans. It touches upon budget/financial counseling, life-skills training, education/career planning, and also job/housing search assistance.

The purpose of all of this is to help very low income residents stabilize their housing situations and also assist them to transform their lives by reaching their goals. It will then hopefully lead to more long term, permanent housing somewhere in the state of California.

This service is available due to the generosity of volunteer workers. It also may be supplemented by government grant funding. A key benefit is that it provides peace of mind in knowing that the right home repairs are done and completed in a timely manner. The end result is the basic livability of the home is improved, and it will be more safe, energy efficiency, and healthy to live in.

For more information on Bringing Our Community Home, dial 805-564-5420.




By Jon McNamara

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