Local News

Jan 9, 2014 7:11 PM by April Hansen, KSBY

Local homeless shelter opens more doors for families living on the streets

A homeless shelter in Santa Maria will soon be providing more housing for families in need.

The Good Samaritan Shelter is set to open a second permanent residence in the city next week. The new location is called the Pine Street Bungalows.

They are two three-bedroom homes that the Good Samaritan Shelter has renovated, and they are only a few blocks away from its other permanent shelter complex, Casa de Familia, which opened in October.

Shelter leaders say as the homeless population grows in the community, so does the need for more housing.

"We are opening these facilities because nobody else is," said Good Samaritan Shelter's Chief Financial Officer Jack Boysen.

Boysen says the shelter's challenge is to get families off the streets. He says it starts with places like Pine Street Bungalows.

"The homeless population is the hardest population to serve for permanent housing," said Boysen.

Boysen says more than 60% of the people Good Samaritan serves are single moms with children and that means they need a place to stay with more space.

"The need is so great for individuals that have been successful throughout our homeless programs and to be able to get into permanent housing," said Boysen.

For single mom Maoia Duran, it was life-changing.

"It was really difficult just trying to figure out where we were going to go and where to be a family," said Duran.

Duran and her children are one of 16 families that moved into Casa de Familia last fall. She says a stable home creates a sense of normalcy.

"I get to sit at the table and do homework with my kids. We get to watch television together. We get to talk as a family and so our future is very bright," said Duran.

Boysen says only two families will be chosen for the Pine Street Bungalows. He says it doesn't solve the problem, but it gets one more family into their own home.

"We probably had well over 100 applications in the limited time we had it open," said Boysen.

He says two families will move into the bungalows next week.

The Pine Street Bungalows and Casa de Familia were funded with federal grants.

Boysen says families that live in the shelter's permanent housing pay 30% of their income in rent.

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