Women’s Fund of Santa Barbara Transforms the Lives of Homeless Mothers through St. Vincent’s Family Strengthening Program

Santa Barbara, CA | KEYT News | July 14, 2023

St. Vincent’s transitional housing program implements new role to help homeless mothers in Santa Barbara.


Since 1858, Saint Vincent’s has been on a mission to help homeless mothers and their children in Santa Barbara. “We are a transitional housing program and we offer up to 27 months of transitional housing for homeless mothers and their children,” said program director Flo Berger of St. Vincent’s. “So we have 21 acres of a lot of different programs … so we have the family housing which is the largest affordable housing on one campus … so 75 units of low income housing for families,” said president and CEO Rosa Paredes of St. Vincent’s. Thanks to a $100,000 grant from Women’s Fund of Santa Barbara, St. Vincent’s just implemented a new role that’s changing lives. “Well, I’m very excited about this grant … what it did is it funded a peer support specialist and it’s a woman who has lived experience. She was herself a single mother. She was able to come here to Saint Vincent. They helped her get stable, housing,” said board of directors Sabina White of Women’s Fund.

That new peer support specialist is Katrina Gonzales. “My job is to bring in new moms into the 90 day cottage … the first three months they get acclimated to the program … get used to the rules … seeing their case manager meeting the therapist,” said peer support specialist Katrina Gonzales of St. Vincent’s. “We’re thrilled to have Katrina because Katrina is just such a bright light. She’s so warm and kind in the first face. You want to see you when you’re changing your life and she’s an incredible team player. She is so intelligent,” said program director Flo Berger of St. Vincent’s. Gonzales hopes her new role will help ensure homeless mothers who come to St. Vincent’s will stay. “Someone like me would never ever thought that I would ever get the opportunity like this like help financially to go to school I mean that’s crazy so I’m just so beyond grateful,” said Gonzales. Gonzales plays a crucial role in helping women adjust to the program’s requirements and successfully complete it.

The program aims to equip mothers with independent living skills, boost their confidence, and help them achieve financial stability and permanent housing.”My hope Is just improve the quality of the moms lives and in their lives with their children,” said Gonzales.