I've had a wonderful time meeting with a wide range of small business owners, veterans, teachers, students and families across the Central Coast throughout March.
Here are just a few highlights:
Helping homeless veterans
Our veterans have served our nation with distinction and we owe it to them to ensure they have the services and support they need when they return home. The public housing authorities on the Central Coast do tremendous work in our local communities and I am so pleased that they recently received federal grants to supply permanent housing and case management for homeless veterans. I am confident they will put these important funds to work quickly to house homeless vets. If you, or a veteran you know, are looking for information on resources for veterans please click here. And if you or someone you know needs assistance with any federal agency please click here and one of my staff members may be able to help.
Improving lives through self-sufficiency and affordable housing
I was thrilled to visit with People's Self-Help Housing (PSHH) recently. PSHH is a local non-profit that does wonderful work in our communities by providing affordable housing and community services for low-income households, seniors, the formerly homeless and special needs households. Homeowner participants spend months putting sweat equity into their homes; they get blisters and work long, hard days to build their new homes. When they're done they have a wonderful community and they know their neighbors well. I was also very excited to reunite with a family I first met when they finished building their home with PSHH 15 years ago, it was wonderful to see their home and how their family has grown.
Job creation and economic growth with a UCSB startup and UCSB's TIA
I met with staff from UCSB's Office of Technology & Industry Alliances (TIA) to discuss its extremely important work--encouraging companies to create and invest in products based upon UCSB research. With the TIA's help several companies are started each year based on cutting-edge UCSB research. I also toured Next Energy Technologies, a startup company created by a UCSB PhD. Founders discovered organic semiconductors that could potentially, fundamentally alter the economics and functionality of solar power. UCSB has traditionally led in the fields of LED lighting, robotics, computing, and oil cleanup technologies. UCSB and the TIA are incredible assets to our community by playing a key role in growing our regional economy and creating local jobs.
Standing up for our community's health and economy
I recently sent a letter to the House Appropriations Committee urging that they keep funding for the Beach Acts Grant Program, which helps states monitor and improve water-quality through testing at beaches across the country. Unfortunately, the Administration has proposed eliminating funding for the grants in the next fiscal year. A loss of funding could mean fewer sites would be tested and testing would be less frequent. The very modest investment in these water-quality monitoring and notification programs will give Americans the peace of mind that the water they swim in is safe and will not make them sick. Keeping our beaches clean and safe ensures that our health and valuable coastal economies are protected. In related news, the SLO County Public Health Department has recently made its beach monitoring website interactive.
Thank you for the opportunity to share this update with you. As always, please feel free to pass it along to family and friends.
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MEMBER OF CONGRESS