The Santa Barbara County Executive Office (CEO) has identified six recovery areas to target in their strategic recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic, staff told the Board of Supervisors at the Oct. 12 meeting. Recovery focus areas are: Behavioral Health; Economic Revitalization and Employment; Community Health and Wellbeing; Organization and Technology; Housing and Homelessness and Disaster Resiliency.
Public Health is not included as a specific recovery focus area because the Department of Public Health’s pandemic infrastructure already has dedicated funding.
The focus areas were identified during the CEO’s review of key impacts in the health and human services sectors resulting from the pandemic. The study outlines provisions that will provide support and safety net services to those immediately economically, socially and emotionally impacted by Covid-19, as well as address emerging mid and long-term recovery needs.
“Throughout the nation, state and locally Covid-19 has disproportionality impacted communities of color, low wage essential workers, seniors and historically underserved and marginalized populations,” Terri Nisich, assistant CEO, said in a letter to the Board of Supervisors.
“The strategies recognize the impacts to this population and provides a strategic framework for health and human services and disaster related services,” Nisich said.
The cost of the proposed strategies over a three-year period is estimated to be $46 million with the majority designated for housing and homelessness ($35 million).
To fully implement all strategies, Nisich said that the county must pursue strategic braided funding and enhanced community engagement and collaboration. They also noted that accelerated data gathering would be required to address equity and inclusion, combat uncertainties about the future, promote economic and social opportunities and ensure the health and safety of the most vulnerable.
“The initial strategies set forth for consideration were also developed to ensure the County of Santa Barbara can recover in a way that is sustainable, resilient, inclusive, equitable, and just,” Nisich added.