Transition House

Transition House - Santa Barbara Homeless Shelter & Support

Mission and Philosophy

Our Mission

Transition House is dedicated to the solution of family homelessness in the Santa Barbara community. Capable and motivated families with children are offered respectful, non-sectarian residential services and the life skills needed to alleviate their poverty, and to restore self-sufficiency and dignity.

Our Philosophy

In 1984, Transition House was created by volunteers from the Santa Barbara area who stepped forward to give food and shelter to their homeless neighbors. Transition House’s program is based on the understanding that the root cause of family homelessness is poverty. There may be other and varied contributing factors to homelessness, but underlying it is always poverty.

Understanding the crippling downward spiral that poverty creates, Transition House has designed a comprehensive three stage housing program to solve homelessness for capable and motivated families, to end their reliance on public assistance, and to prevent family homelessness before it occurs by helping those on the brink of losing their existing housing.
To solve family homelessness and welfare dependence, Transition House helps families develop life skills and sound decision making practices aimed at alleviating their poverty. Staff works with each family to facilitate realistic avenues to meet the following goals:
  • Safe and affordable housing.
  • Access to high quality childcare.
  • Viable employment with growth potential.
  • Economic responsibility and self-sufficiency.
While working toward these goals, Transition House provides strong, family-centered support services and rigorous case management for each family.
As a result, the Transition House’s program has had remarkable results: on average, 60% of clients return to permanent housing with the economic means to sustain it. Since its beginnings, over 10,000 parents and their children have been directly helped by Transition House.
The success of Transition House is also achieved because of two groups—the residents of our community who provide over 70% of our annual operating expenses, and volunteers who provide in-kind services valued at over $350,000 each year. Collectively, 1,200 community members support the work of staff at Transition House.
It is what makes the people of Santa Barbara, and Transition House, so unique.

Programs and Services

Since its creation in 1984, Transition House has provided aid to local homeless families by offering shelter for those in immediate need and by teaching the life-skills necessary to step out of the downward spiral of poverty, become self-sufficient, and return to permanent housing.
In addition to the Three-Stage Housing Program, our Homelessness Prevention Program gives financial aid and intensive case management to families in imminent danger of losing their existing housing.

Our Three-Stage Housing Program

1. Emergency Shelter - Homeless families enter Transition House’s Emergency Shelter where food, shelter, and transitional case management lasting up to 120 days are provided. Families are stabilized, career goals are identified, and strategies to reach them are implemented. Clients participate in employment and/or educational programs. Children are enrolled in school or quality childcare. Transition House’s McCune Family Shelter houses between 15 – 22 families (up to 70 people), and all meals are provided.
2. Transitional Living Residence – The family moves on to transitional residence and
services at our second-stage facility, called the Firehouse, where they live for an average of six months. Career counseling, financial management, and educational enhancement continue. Transition House case management monitors progress toward long-term financial and life-skills goals that will one day lead to lasting economic stability. Life at the Firehouse also provides families the opportunity to build friendships and support networks with other families in preparation for the time when they return to permanent housing. A total of six families live inFirehouse where they share a common living room, dining room and kitchen. Families prepare their own meals and share in household chores. Each family has private sleeping quarters and a portion of income (30% and below) is paid in rent.
3. Permanent Affordable Housing – Transition House families with long range goals of achieving lasting economic self-sufficiency can apply for placement in one of 26 low-cost apartments owned by Transition House. Services including career monitoring, case management and educational enhancement continue to be provided. At the end of two years, the family reaches an income level that enables them to afford market-rate housing. Heads of the household become fully invested in jobs they care about. Savings accrue. The family becomes self-sufficient.

Our Family Centered Services include:

1. Three stages of supportive housing.
2. Provision of all basics needs during the crisis period in the emergency shelter, including three meals per day, diapers for infants and personal toiletries.
3. Fully-licensed, no-cost infant care onsite; and financial assistance and referrals to fully-licensed childcare for toddlers.
4. Employment development program including assistance with job searches, crafting resumes and filling out applications.
5. The Family Support Center includes free ESL, Job Club, a computer lab and parenting classes (Childcare is provided during class time).
6. Referrals to other social service agencies as needed for programs including recovery services,  counseling, legal support, and health services.
7. Money management training.
8. Primary healthcare.
9. Bus tokens until income is secured.
10. Referrals for clothing and food.
11. Free evening tutoring program for children.
13. Our Technology and Literacy for Children program.
14. Evening Arts Enrichment Program for children.
15. Haircuts and career clothing.
16. Summer camp scholarships

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