Registry Week on the Horizon
In just 12 days, volunteers from Santa Maria to Carpinteria will rise before dawn (way before dawn, actually) to locate and survey Santa Barbara County’s homeless residents. The goal is not just to learn how many people are living outside, in shelters and in cars here, but to discover who among them are most at risk of dying. With five homeless people having died already this year just in the south (six if you include the New Year’s Eve death of Bruce Leroy Woods) the effort comes not a moment too soon.
As of Monday, February 14th, 296 volunteers had signed up to help out. It’s a high number, but not high enough, according to Rob Fredericks of the Housing Authority of the City of Santa Barbara. When you consider how big the county is, that the drive seeks to count and survey everyone, the magic number is probably more like 500. People will have to travel into the nooks and crannies of New Cuyama, Guadalupe and Buellton. (I bet you never thought there were homeless people in Buellton . . . well, you may be right. But by the end of Registry week, we will know for sure.)
In the past two weeks, the leaders of the drive, Jeff Shaffer, Rob Fredericks, Alice Villarreal-Redit and Laura Abrahamian have gathered dedicated community advocates and activists into sub-comittee meetings on topics like mapping, media and data. The mapping meetings have been most challenging because they involved pouring over maps of the county, pinpointing the places where homeless people live, and hide, from police. Those maps are key to finding and surveying as many people as possible. Who gets to look at those maps is a prickly question, because camping on public property is illegal. But, according to Mike Foley, also a campaign leader, police will not have access to the final maps. (Phew.)
During the Boot Camp training last month in Albuquerque, Becky Kanis, the Director and architect of the National 100k Homes campaign, said many volunteers who do the surveying find the experience “transforming.” Getting to know, and talking one-on- one with people you once looked away from, or allowed yourself to glance at only for a second, dissolves prejudice. In these situations, there’s scant way to escape the fact that, in the end, we all have a lot in common with these raggedy, streety people that society shuns and even targets for persecution.
Below are the key dates for Registry Week training. You can sign up to volunteer by visiting www.commongroundsb.org.
Key Event Dates:
Team Leader Training:
Friday, Feb. 25th,
3:00 PM to 4:30 PM
Sunday February 27th
1:00 PM to 4:00 PM
Earl Warren Showgrounds
3:00 PM to 5:00 PM
Santa Maria – TBD
Monday, Feb. 28 to
Wed. March 2nd
4:00AM to 7:00AM each day
Outpost locations: (TBA)
Community Briefing Friday, March 4, 2010
3:00 PM to 4:30 PM
(exact location to be announced)
Click on the link “Common Ground Santa Barbara” at right hand side of this webpage for more information.
Or go to [email protected]
Or visit the national 100k Homes website at: https://www.100khomes.com