Volunteers Survey Homeless in Santa Barbara County

Posted: Feb 27, 2011 9:29 PM PSTUpdated: Feb 27, 2011 9:29 PM PST

SANTA BARBARA – Volunteers will survey the homeless in Santa Barbara County starting at 4:30 a.m. Monday.

More than 500 people will survey the homeless community in Carpinteria, Santa Barbara, Goleta, Lompoc and Santa Maria.

“From our last count in the county, there’s anywhere between 3,900 and 6,000 homeless,” said Rob Fredericks of the Santa Barbara Housing Authority.

The volunteers gathered at Earl Warren Showgrounds in Santa Barbara, the Minami Center in Santa Maria and at Good Samaritan in Lompoc to prepare for the early morning questions.

“There’s a lot of empathy in this community and a lot of people willing to give their time and their resources to help them out and hopefully this process will facilitate that,” said volunteer Diane Eardley.

The Santa Barbara City Housing Authority, and the county’s Department of Housing and Community Development collaborated with residents to bringCommon Ground to the effort.

Common Ground is a non-profit organization founded in 1990 in New York. Their mission is to end homelessness and identify the most at risk of dying from their circumstances.

“Surveying those folks that are homeless and getting the information is something we find would be a really good approach for our community so we’ve adopted that,” said Fredericks.

The survey will collect information such as where the person resides, military history and also health related questions.

“This just shows the heart of the community,” said Grant House of the Santa Barbara City Council. “People really coming out and giving of our time and it really is about supporting people in getting out of homelessness and finding a home. That’s the goal.”

Common Ground operates in cities such as Los Angeles, New York and Washington D.C. Santa Barbara County joined the effort two months ago and has brought together the largest group of volunteers the non-profit has ever seen.