This may seem like a very strange move, given the neighborhood’s history of vocal opposition to the problems caused by the shelter’s operations.
“We see a real change in their approach, in how they’re operating”, said Milpas Community Association (MCA) President Alan Bleecker. “There’s a commitment there to sobriety, to being effective in changing people’s lives, and to being a good neighbor. We recognize that one of their permit requirements is neighborhood patrol around their area. One guy on foot can only make so many rounds, cover so much territory. Gene Katz at Moto Loco suggested a golf cart could help, so we jumped on it.”
Casa Esperanza has been through some dramatic changes in the past 12 months. They moved to sobriety in 2013, and laid off their executive staff in March of this year, due to funding struggles. Bob Bogle, a board member, has assumed the helm, but without a salary.
Expressing surprise and delight at the news of the donation, Bogle said, “I think it sets a great example of what can be accomplished when everyone is working together. We are clearly a community here on Milpas.”
The shelter is also the meeting place for the Milpas Outreach Project, focused on helping a small group of chronically homeless individuals leave life on the street for a more sustainable living situation. The team is comprised of the Central Coast Collaborative on Homelessness (C3H), Common Ground, Restorative Police, Legal Aid, ADMHS, the Veterans Administration, shelter staff, and Milpas-area businesses working together as a unified team on this most difficult population. This effort is the first of its kind in Santa Barbara. Bogle welcomed the team to host their weekly meetings at Casa Esperanza.
The MCA will present the golf cart Thursday May 1st at 2:00 PM at Casa Esperanza. A press conference will follow.