Heavenly Path News Team
"California Shelter Named in Honor of Antiochian Priest Who Served the Homeless"
A honor worth the years of service to the community.
On February 8, 2022, the Santa Barbara (California) County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved a nomination to rename the County-owned El Colegio Property (a homeless shelter) to the "Hedges House of Hope" in honor of The Very Rev. Fr. Jon-Stephen Hedges, who reposed in the Lord on February 25, 2021.
The Hedges House of Hope program provides shelter operations, essential services, case management, housing navigation, public health and behavioral health services, and links to substance use disorder treatment services with the objectives of linking individuals to a permanent or safe housing resource.
Father Jon-Stephen Hedges was attached to St. Athanasius Antiochian Orthodox Church in Santa Barbara from 1987 until he reposed in the Lord in 2021, serving as Assistant Pastor for part of that time. Father Jon-Stephen served as a chaplain with the County of Santa Barbara Sheriff's Department and the Isla Vista Foot Patrol and worked with a number of community service agencies including Doctors Without Walls, American Red Cross, and various County Departments, particularly those that provided services and protection for the most vulnerable populations. He was also trained as a board-certified crisis chaplain with the American Academy of Experts in Traumatic Stress, was a Certified Trauma Responder (CTR) and Emergency Medical Technician.
Father Jon-Stephen's training made him uniquely qualified to meet the needs of and actively advocate for the unhoused residents in his community, as well as to serve with I.O.C.C. as a chaplain who was deployed to numerous natural disaster sites. He helped develop St. Brigid Fellowship, a ministry of St. Athanasius parish that serves the unsheltered community, and he supported the Isla Vista Temporary emergency Shelter and Navigation Center. He also strongly advocated for the development of a permanent South County Navigation Center, which resulted in the facility and program which now bear his name. (Read more about Hedges House of Hope.)
Father Jon-Stephen's sudden repose was a huge loss to his family, his parish, his I.O.C.C. team members, the unsheltered community and the entire County of Santa Barbara. To memorialize him in the community he served for over 40 years by naming this shelter the "Hedges House of Hope" is an honor befitting the servant that he was and will be remembered as. He is worthy! Memory eternal!