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PATH Santa Barbara: a new way of life for the homeless

PATH Santa Barbara: a new way of life for the homeless

Homeless people are everywhere in almost every country in the world. Some of them have very hard lives, some of them are just there on a temporary basis, and for some of them, it is their long lasting situation.

Depending on the community and the amount of empathy people have, homeless people suffer in different ways. For example, in third world countries, homeless people are seen almost like nothing are not taken into account in any way by anybody. Being homeless in a third world country is almost like a death sentence.

In the United States and Europe, homeless people have it easier thanks to charities and institutions that help them have a more or less decent life. In developed countries homelessness is a situation that a lot of people have to go through either because they have lost a job, or because they have been abused at home or just because the person has made some mistakes in life that have taken the person to the streets. Either way, homeless people are still people and need to be taken care of.

Here is where PATH Santa Barbara comes into play. By being part of a bigger community that is called PATH they can help homeless people access the services they need so they can live a healthy life, start making a good income and eventually move to a more stable housing.

First, we have to talk about the mother institution called PATH. PATH is defined as a big family or group of institutions (or agencies if you want to call them like that) that are committed to put an end to homelessness for all the inhabitants of California. PATH not only provides housing but also provides extra services that support each person’s situation in order to give them a better life in the future.  Their idea is take people back to healthy lives so they can “make it home” safe and sound again. Each agency has their own management and their own approach to homelessness depending on their environment and surroundings.  

PATH Santa Barbara: a new way of life for the homeless
Courtesy of PATH Santa Barbara

PATH was born in the year 1983 from a letter that Claire and Rev. Charles Orr sent to the local community leaders in order to address the issue of homelessness which was growing at a fast pace in Los Angeles. The response was amazing and on December 8, 1983, 60 people got together to debate about how this problem was going to be tackled and how to help people that were living on the streets.  They started by handing out food and clothing to everybody on the streets and they created the PATH mall which gathered many local providers and shops that were willing to help by going to one location and selling their product or give them out to homeless people making access to services easier for them.

Now, as for PATH Santa Barbara, which comes from PATH and has the following services and story for their community. PATH Santa Barbara was born on July 1st, 2015 when Casa Esperanza Homeless Shelter decided to get together and form an alliance with PATH in order to manage the services and make it easier to provide shelter for homeless people in the Santa Barbara area.  


PATH Santa Barbara has used the Housing First model where they commit to help people find a house or a place to stay as soon as possible even if they still have some problems to solve or some issues that need to be addressed. Once they are moved into a shelter, they are provided with services that make life easier and they can apply to get a new home and make sure that they stay in that house and never again go back to the streets.  

This is what PATH Santa Barbara offers to the community and homeless people:

  • A personal study to address each person´s problem and why they are homeless in the first place.
  • A deep study about each client and personal and operational programs for them.
  • Best practices that are a total success in other communities
  • They measure their results and stay close to their community.
  • Neighborhoods are a priority for PATH Santa Barbara. They are committed to the community and the surroundings.
  • Onsite programs that not only connect to the homelessness issue but also provide a place where social and physiological barriers can be overcome and people can access the services with a better attitude.

So next time you see a homeless person try not to judge them. Try to understand them and why they are in this situation. Not everybody is eligible for PATH as some issues are hard to handle (substance abuse, violent attitudes), but if the person is willing to change, PATH Santa Barbara is more than happy to receive them.

Be sure also to check this post on an institution that is giving people the chance of talking about their problems in a safe environment.