Warming centers get funding in the middle of El Niño storm season

Jan 29, 2016

Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo Counties are preparing to help the homeless stay dry ahead of more El Niño storms. 

A busy Freedom Warming Center during a recent storm in Santa Barbara County
Credit Freedom Warming Centers of Santa Barbara CA Facebook Page

The Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors approved nearly $130,000 for homeless warming centers on Thursday.

"And so, what this amount of money provides, at least for a short period of time during the worst weather, is a place to sleep at night and a place to hang out during the day to get out of the bad weather," said Chuck Flacks, Central Coast Collaborative on Homelessness Executive Director.

The shelters in Santa Barbara County are contracted out to the Freedom Warming Centers, which uses the money to fund various locations in churches.

In San Luis Obispo County, the community is currently facing difficulties when it comes to warming centers. 

"What we do hear from the warming centers is that their biggest challenge right now is not funding, but rather volunteers to work the overnight shifts at the warming centers," said Laurel Weir, SLO County Homeless Services Coordinator.

The County is working to reduce homelessness by introducing long term housing projects like 50Now, a program that provided housing for 50 homeless people back in 2014.

The Homeless Services Oversight Council plans to present a report to the San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday.