Santa Barbara Catholic Charities assistance programs.

One of the leading agencies in Santa Barbara County California is Catholic Charities. The organization is dedicated to helping low-income families and the working poor. Local churches, staff, and volunteers from Catholic Charities will try to prevent homelessness, ensure people have healthy food, shelter, and other basic needs are met.

Many local families continue to struggle with the effects of the slow economy. They may have lost their jobs or had a reduction in work hours. The organization, working with the support of dedicated community volunteers and members, are collectively rallying to help stabilize those in crisis and support people facing a hardship.

The charity operates a food pantry from a new building in the county. People can only use the center a limited times per month. Those who qualify may receive a bag or box full of free food. While the contents will vary and are really determined by donations, they may have canned goods, rice, meats, or frozen foods. The pantry provides more room for greater food selection and display. While a little more limited, Catholic Charities may also have critical non-food items. This can include, but is not limited to, items such as infant formula, personal hygiene items and free baby diapers. The center is user friendly and Catholic Charities will in effect allow people to “shop” for what they need. This helps reduce waste.

As indicated another focus is on homeless prevention and/or rapid rehousing for people who need an affordable place to live. While it is always cheaper to prevent an eviction in the first place, and that is what the Catholic Charities in Santa Barbara will focus on, as many people know there are a number of homeless currently living in the community.

The non-profit works with businesses, charities, and others in the community to raise funds for those who are less fortunate. Money will go to preventing hunger and homelessness in the region. While funding, grants, and resources are very limited, Catholic Charities is one of the only organizations in Santa Barbara County that offers emergency rental and utility bill assistance. When possible, the funding will come from grants such as the ESFP and HPRP program. However most of those are time sensitive programs, so other grants may be used from time to time and donations are always greatly appreciated.




While the northern California region is often operating on a significantly reduced budget, services still may be delivered to thousands of low income people every year.

Applicants need to be facing eviction. Or they may have a utility disconnection notice. Either of those can cause homelessness, so that is what Catholic Charities tries to address. Call them for details on any available grant programs for housing costs or energy bills.

The Thrifty Shopper store in Santa Maria and Santa Barbara represents another effort to help those struggling in the community. This is really a thrift store that relies on donations from the public. The center can provide clients with free household goods and clothing. If you shop there, revenue from sales help support the Catholic Charity agency's assistance programs and services.

There are several Catholic Charity centers in the Santa Barbara County region of California. They are as follows.

  • 609 E. Haley St., Santa Barbara, California 93101, phone (805) 965-7045
  • Santa Maria, 607 W. Main Street, Santa Maria, CA 93454, dial (805) 922-2059 for intake
  • Carpinteria center is located at 941 Walnut Street, Carpinteria, CA 93013. Phone (805) 684-8621
  • The last location is at 903 E. Chestnut Street, Lompoc, California 93436, dial (805) 736-6226




By Jon McNamara

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