Murder case sparks concerns about possible growth of homeless population in Santa Barbara

Homeless migration concerns shared following murder in Ventura

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - During the public comment period of a Santa Barbara City Council meeting, Nancy Newland shared her concerns about homeless migration.

Newland who knew the victim in the Aloha Steakhouse stabbing in Ventura believes a crackdown on the homeless population in Ventura could lead to an increase in the homeless population in Santa Barbara.

The suspect in the case is a homeless man with a history of behavioral problems. The victim is a Ventura father who had his daughter on his lap when he was fatally stabbed on April 18.

Newland, who relocated to Santa Barbara from Ventura County during the Thomas Fire, has nothing against the homeless but worries about what can happen if their needs aren't met.

 "We all know that Maslow"s hierarchy of needs; food, clothing and shelter, none of us can progress without those needs being met, and if you don't have those needs you spend your entire day without those needs, and then you are faced with; Where do I sleep tonight. I see it all over the city, and it just breaks my heart," said Newland, a registered nurse.

Newland thinks people without housing in Ventura will seek better services offered in Santa Barbara.

"I feel that because they are being run out of Ventura they are going to come here seeking services and we are going to be double the homeless and drug addiction population up here, and we need to address that."

Linda McDaid, the formerly homeless operations manager of Showers of Blessings, said she has seen new faces at the portable showers that Showers of Blessings sets up each week.

Santa Barbara Police Department's public engagement officer, Anthony Wagner, says he cannot confirm an increase in the homeless population in the City of Santa Barbara.

"I think that is speaking to fear, more than reality," said Wagner.

Wagner says it is not illegal to be homeless. 

McDaid hopes that the tragedy in Ventura will do more than just raise awareness about homelessness, drug addiction, and mental health issues.

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