New Beginnings – Program Provides Assistance to Veteran Families in Danger of Losing Housing

New Beginnings – Program Provides Assistance to Veteran Families in Danger of Losing Housing


Submitted by bill on Sun, 04/27/2014


In Santa BarbaraCA, New Beginnings Counseling Center’sSupportive Services for Veteran Families program is designed to help end homelessness among the Veteran population in Santa Barbara County. This housing first model aims to provide housing stability by providing cash assistance to those in danger of losing their housing and to rapidly transition into stable housing those who are homeless and scheduled to become residents of permanent housing within 90 days. Veterans who qualify for this program must have served in active military, naval, air service, Merchant Marines, or were activated by Presidential order and served in another state or country while in the National Guard or Reserves; received an other than dishonorable discharge, and have a gross household income at or below 30% of area median income for household size. For more information please contact the Supportive Services for Veteran Families program at (805) 963-7777 ext. 107, or email[email protected].

New Beginnings Counseling Center is a non-profit 501c3 that provides personal counseling and community outreach programs for those who need help and support. Their dedicated, experienced interns and outreach staff meet with people on a confidential basis. They work with people of all ages who are going through life’s transitions, relationship struggles and personal challenges helping them find direction and hope for themselves and their families. New Beginnings low-cost, sliding-scale counseling clinic offers individual, couples, family, and group counseling services.

Appointments are available by calling the Center directly at (805) 963-7777.

Under the Supportive Services for Veteran Families program (SSVF), VA awards grants to private non-profit organizations and consumer cooperatives who can provide supportive services to very low-income Veteran families living in or transitioning to permanent housing.

Grantees provide eligible Veteran families with outreach, case management, and assistance in obtaining VA and other benefits, which may include:

Health care services

Daily living services

Personal financial planning services

Transportation services

Fiduciary and payee services

Legal services

Child care services

Housing counseling services

In addition, grantees may also provide time-limited payments to third parties (e.g., landlords, utility companies, moving companies, and licensed child care providers) if these payments help Veteran families stay in or acquire permanent housing on a sustainable basis.

For a list of organization’s participating in the VA’s Supportive Service for Veterans Families program by state,click here.






Pictured left to right: Thea Vandervoort, Mental Wellness Center Development Associate; Annmarie Cameron, Mental Wellness Center CEO; George Kaufmann, Mental Wellness Center Supporter; Inge Gatz, Mental Wellness Center Supporter; Joe Cooper, Mental Wellness Center Board Chair; and Heather Ayer, Mental Wellness Center Supporter.

Start your spring training out on the right food when  you join Santa Barbara Mental Wellness Center and Active Minds at UCSB for the Third Annual 5K Walk for Mental Wellness on May 17 at East Beach Bathhouse.

The walk supports adults and families affected by mental illness.

Members of Santa Barbara’s MWC recently celebrated a kickoff event at Arch Rock Fish.

The MentalWellnessCenter is a private, nonprofit organization providing recovery, education and family services to adults and families affected by mental illness.

Active Minds is dedicated to reducing the stigma attached to mental health disorders.

East Beach Bathhouse is located at 1118 E. Cabrillo Blvd.

For more information, visit or call 805/884-8440.

–Breanne Lewis


Read the full story here:

Local Bites, Bikes Abound at Santa Barbara’s 44th Earth Day Festival

Local Bites, Bikes Abound at Santa Barbara’s 44th Earth Day Festival


local news

Annual two-day Community Environmental Council-sponsored event continues Sunday at AlamedaPark


not-yet-released electric BMW i3 was a popular attraction at the Santa Barbara Earth Day celebration’s green car show at AlamedaPark. (Gina Potthoff / Noozhawk photo)

By Gina Potthoff, Noozhawk Staff Writer | @ginapotthoff | Published on 04.26.2014 2:21 p.m.

The number of orange stickers placed on a plastic-covered map of Santa Barbara steadily grew Saturday afternoon, as local bicyclists used dry-erase markers to map their routes — along with all-too prevalent problem areas.

“The Mission (Street) is not good,” an avid cyclist said, providing input for an interactive effort in its first year at the annual Earth Day Festival in Alameda Park.

The Santa Barbara Bicycle Coalition was collecting the information for bike master plans to be adopted by SouthCoast cities in coming months and years.

Attendees then filled out postcards identifying issues and addressed them to appropriate municipal or Santa BarbaraCounty officials.

The coalition also offered free valet bike parking, as well as bike tune-ups — services that will continue Sunday at the two-day event.

A strengthening of the partnership between the bike coalition and theCommunity Environmental Council, which has organized the Santa Barbara Earth Day festival for more than 40 years, was a key component of this year’s event, said Sigrid Wright, festival director with the CEC.

Hundreds of handpicked food and other vendor booths protected themselves against Saturday’s wind, many thankful that Friday night’s rain didn’t stick around.

Wright was among the grateful, since this year’s festivities included a new pop-up farm-to-table dinner.

Under the theme “Local Roots,” she said the dinner — with a sold-out guest list of 130 — would commence once the festival ended Saturday. It featured lines of plastic tables, four-course fare from Buellton-based New West Catering and a wine-pairing portion.

“We’re looking at all the things that make a building block of a community, and that includes food,” Wright said.

She said more than 2,000 volunteer hours went into the event, which also boasted the largest public green car show again this year.

Locals perused or test-drove some of the more than 40 hybrid and eco-friendly vehicles, including a BMW i3 — a new electric car not yet officially released.

Back at the bike route map, orange stickers covered the Highway 101 underpass at Castillo Street as a risky area.

If places like that were fixed, more locals might ride bikes because statistics show that 60 percent of residents want to cycle more but might be afraid, said Sam Franklin, bicycle coalition program coordinator.

“Instead of telling people what could be better, we want the community to tell us,” he said.

The Earth Day festival continues from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday at AlamedaPark, 1400 Santa Barbara St. Click here for more information.

— Noozhawk staff writer Gina Potthoff can be reached at[email protected]. Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk,@NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

Read the full story here:



Earth Day Matters More than Ever

Earth Day Matters More than Ever

independent online_newCEC_EarthDay_Indy

CEC’s Sigrid Wright “surfing” a wave made of single-use plastic bottles at the 2013 Santa Barbara Earth Day Festival.

Contemplate Joy, Despite the Facts

Saturday, April 26, 2014


Santa Barbara’s first Earth Day in 1970 was a small but heartfelt affair. It was part of a nationwide day of “Environmental Teach-Ins,” modeled after the antiwar effort. The Environmental Protection Agency did not exist. The Clean Water Act and Clean Air Act did not exist. Recycling was not part of our daily public infrastructure. Even the bakery at the first Santa Barbara festival that offered whole wheat bread – symbolizing the beginnings of a health-food movement – was considered counter-culture.

Now, a generation or two later, Santa Barbara’s Earth Day Festival has changed significantly, as has the landscape around us. Some say we are now in the midst of an extinction crisis – what Elizabeth Kolbert calls the Sixth Extinction. We have crossed the threshold of acceptable levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. Population, climate change, and resource limits are at the root of major systemic stress. It’s been a long time since a scientific study has been released saying that things are looking great.

We have work to do. But, as the poet Wendell Berry says: “Be joyful though you have considered all the facts.” The counter balance to the difficult realities we face is not conjuring up false optimism, but knowing how to stay centered and clear in intention in the face of droughts and polar vortexes and resource conflicts.

The biggest problems of our time aren’t necessarily climate change and human-induced collapse of systems. Those are the symptoms of a world out of balance, of people disconnected from nature and each other. This is why I like to suggest that people take two Earth Days — one to get out into nature, preferably alone or with someone you can be quiet with, leaving behind the twittery technology.

And then, on your second Earth Day, gather. Dance with friends, share a meal with your community. Learn how to grow your own vegetables and save the seeds. Dig out your bike with its splashy tires and bring it to the festival for a tune-up. Think about plastic and how insane it is that we would turn our remaining oil into bottles and bags that we use for five minutes before throwing them away. That is the disconnected world we are going to start stepping away from.

Someone somewhere will drive to Earth Day in a gas guzzler. Some company will try to sell you a product you don’t want; some organization will espouse a doctrine you find too heavy-handed, or not enough. But that’s part of the growth of the movement, isn’t it? Not the hypocrisy or posturing or greenwashing, but the fact that with 7.2 billion people now on the planet, we are negotiating our own definitions of what it means to be “environmentalists,” or of this Earth.

Sigrid Wright is the director of the Santa Barbara Earth Day Festival, which is organized by the Community Environmental Council (CEC). The event will be held Saturday, April 26, 11 a.m.-7 p.m., and Sunday, April 27, 11 a.m.-6 p.m., at Alameda Park. Those interested in hearing more about the history of Santa Barbara’s environmental movement are invited to hear former CEC Executive Director Paul Relis speak on Sunday, April 27, at noon in the CEC booth at Earth Day.

Read the full story here:

Pin It on Pinterest