Family Service Agency

By on Dec 5, 2022 in Giving

Family Service Agency (FSA) of Santa Barbara is a Yardi-supported nonprofit that has been serving residents in times of need since 1899. FSA’s commitment to help has grown alongside the local community.

“We pair basic needs assistance with family support and mental health counseling—helping at-risk children, families, and seniors meet immediate needs and tools for long-term wellbeing,” shares Paul Katan, Director of Development at FSA.

FSA’s four areas of service are:

  1. Basic needs assistance: help with applications for health insurance, unemployment, Calfresh, utility assistance, case management, and even food supply distribution and delivery since the pandemic.

“We are collaborating with other nonprofits to identify and assist isolated seniors so that their needs for food, prescriptions, supplies, and medical care are met (partnering with private funders)— currently continuing special efforts in Guadalupe and Carpinteria,” shared Katan.

  • Parent support and leadership development: parenting and healthy relationship education including phone lines and social media to help families with the challenges of children in school, changing work environments, and employment reduction.
  • Services for seniors: Certified Ombudsman Representatives monitor resident care in all the county’s long-term care facilities and advocate for resident quality of care.
  • Mental health support: school-based mental health counseling for elementary and secondary school students. Added during the pandemic was support and education for teachers specifically for mental health counseling, education, and mental health first aid training for youth, adults, families, seniors, and their caregivers.

FSA will continue to provide emotional and concrete support to community members’ needs to stabilize and move forward on the path of long-term well-being in the coming year, focusing on strategic priorities from the pandemic.

Funds from Yardi provide the flexibility needed to help people navigate complex and often unsafe situations. This support is a crucial supplement to what public funding sources will cover, which typically limits which services can help those in need of assistance.

“Everyone at FSA is thrilled for the steadfast support of Yardi and its employees, especially as we continue to respond to increased community needs resulting from the pandemic,” said Katan.

“Yardi’s investment in the people we serve is widely known among our 240 employees, many of whom have a family or community connection to Yardi.”

Carla’s story

In 2021, FSA served over 28,000 community members, ranging from age 0 to 103. One of those people is Carla.

Carla, a survivor of domestic violence and a single mother of two, lives in a RV and subsists on earnings from restaurant work. In 2020, school closures meant no educational time for her children and no counselors available to assess the special needs of her youngest child, Alma. Carla had no family support or readily available childcare services.

FSA family support service and school-based counseling services provided the lifeline Carla needed for her children.

“Our Family Advocate met with Carla and created a plan to meet the family’s immediate needs and provide for their long-term self-sufficiency,” shared Katan.

FSA helped Carla with necessities including food and clothing, health care coverage, therapy for Alma’s behavioral needs, and a parenting class for better support. Since being at FSA, Carla’s oldest daughter Sophia has now developed self-confidence, strength and coping skills to handle her depression.

FSA’s family advocate continues to work with the family and in a recent school meeting, Alma’s school staff could not believe how much she has improved, all attributed to the collaboration with FSA.

“We are happy to report that the family recently moved from their vehicle into an apartment, None of this would be possible without the support of Yardi and other generous partners,” shared Katan.

Volunteer opportunities

“Yardi employees have been terrific to work with at past FSA events, including the Senior Expo. Our event schedule has changed since COVID-19, though we are seeking volunteers to support smaller events designed to foster social connections with families, seniors, and caregivers,” said Katan.

For Santa Barbara community members interested in becoming ongoing volunteers, FSA is always in need of more people to become Long-Term Care Ombudsman Representatives. FSA also has several board committees and advisory groups to share the mission of FSA. All interested volunteers, please contact Paul Katan, FSA Director of Development at [email protected]  or 805-965-1001 ext.1255.

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