New Beginnings Hires Sara Grasso as Homeless Services Director

By Giving List Staff   |   July 2, 2021

New Beginnings is pleased to announce the addition of Sara Grasso, MFT as the agency’s first Homeless Services Director. The position was made possible with the support of the Women’s Fund of Santa Barbara, who recently provided New Beginnings with a grant of $75,000 to expand the Safe Parking Program. In addition to directing the Safe Parking Program, Grasso will also oversee the Supportive Services for Veteran Families Program, as well as New Beginnings’ supportive services contract at Johnson Court. 

Grasso is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist who specializes in working with people experiencing homelessness, as well as adults who present with severe and persistent mental illness. Prior to joining New Beginnings, Grasso was the Manager of Integrated Behavioral Health at the Stout Street Health Clinic at the Colorado Coalition for the Homeless. In addition, Grasso served in various positions of increasing responsibility at the County of Santa Barbara for six years, including as the Homeless Services and Assertive Community Treatment Manager for the County Department of Behavioral Wellness, where she oversaw multiple specialty programs tailored for vulnerable populations. Earlier in her career, Grasso worked in clinical and program management positions with local community partners, such as the Salvation Army Hospitality House, the Council on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse (CADA), Phoenix of Santa Barbara, and Family Service Agency.

Kristine Schwarz, MA, MFT, LPCC, Executive Director of New Beginnings said, “I have long enjoyed working in partnership with Sara throughout the years and was thrilled to have the opportunity for her to become a direct member of our team. She is perfect for the job and will serve our clients well.”

Sara Grasso, MFT, Homeless Services Director, said “I am beyond grateful for this opportunity! I have observed first-hand that the team at New Beginnings does whatever it takes to engage and serve our most vulnerable community members. I admire my colleagues for their approach to delivering services and am inspired by the mission of the organization. I look forward to being a part of the team and to working with our clients.”

New Beginnings provides quality, affordable counseling, shelter, case management and education that strengthens our community and provides their clients with the ability to lead healthy and productive lives. New Beginnings, located at 324 East Carrillo Street, Suite C, Santa Barbara, CA 93101, is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization. For more information, please contact our development department at (805) 963-7777 x112 or email at


New Beginnings

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Through January 31st, donors are invited to match the generous $25,000 matching gift from Sandy Schoolfield and Jon Kechejian for the relocation and expansion of our south county office towards our need to raise $250,000 for this effort.


We provide mental health counseling to low-income community members and end homelessness for individuals, families, and veterans throughout Santa Barbara County. Through four core programs, we serve approximately 2,000 people each year.
(805) 963-7777
Executive Director: Kristine Schwarz

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My husband, Jon, and I believe that New Beginnings provides many vital services to the homeless and underserved mentally ill in our community through a host of successful and nationally recognized programs. They could do an even better and more efficient job if they could consolidate their outdated office space that is currently spread out in several locations into one location better designed to support their programs. Jon and I are glad to support this important initiative to help New Beginnings relocate into much needed new office space.”
Sandy Schoolfield and Jon Kechejian

One Roof

In 2023, New Beginnings plans to centralize its main office and bring three locations under one roof in Santa Barbara. To do that, the nonprofit will need a commercial landlord willing to rent to an agency that works with veterans, the homeless, and people struggling with mental illness, and financial assistance from generous donors totaling $250,000. 

Donations are also always needed to cover things government assistance won’t, like appliances, beds, medical assistive devices, renter’s application fees, renter’s insurance, and more. New Beginnings Executive Director Kristine Schwarz’s other major ask is an appeal to landlords and property managers to help serve the unhoused by making units available for them to rent and live in.

“We need landlords and property managers to work with us,” Schwarz says, noting that they have dozens of people housed all over the county who they provide supportive housing retention services for on a daily basis.

New Beginnings reaches out to provide services to members of our community who most need a hand. One of their innovative programs is Safe Parking. My late husband Gary encouraged New Beginnings to write a manual that outlined the details of the program with the intent of sharing it with other cities. That manual and Safe Parking has now gone far beyond Santa Barbara, and is helping hundreds of people. I am pleased to support New Beginnings and all its good works.
Mary Becker

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Warren B. Ritter II