New project in Orcutt to house veterans - KSBY.com | San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara Area News

New project in Orcutt to house veterans

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The Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors recently approved a new project that will house local homeless veterans. 

Veteran P.J. Villegas is looking forward to August. That's when he'll be able to move into his new home in Old Orcutt.

“Just a chance to get my own house, my own room. Just to start my life again over is an opportunity for me," Villegas said.

The Board of Supervisors is giving The Good Samaritan Shelter $475,000 to purchase a six-bedroom home and turn it into permanent housing for homeless vets.

"We are able to house some of our clients that we serve into permanent housing and put them back into the housing communities that they come from,” said Executive Director of The Good Samaritan Shelter, Sylvia Barnard. “We have several veterans that grew up in this neighborhood that are looking to come back and so we are excited for that opportunity for them."

Some of the neighbors surrounding 202 S. First Street are skeptical of the new changes in their community. However, others are embracing the change.

Alexis Nshamamba lives close by and said, "I don't think it will impact me that much, but I do think it's a very good thing. It’s very exciting that we are going to be able to have neighbors that are veterans who really gave to us and we can be good neighbors and give back to them.”

Mitch Maiden can see the property from where he works. "I'm curious what will happen," he said. "At night time, they go to bed and get up. What are they doing during the day time? Some of them had [previous] issues. [There are surrounding] Wineries, liquor store and bars. Are we really helping them? I mean, I hope so. We have good intentions."

The veterans have to be clean and sober in order to move into the home and have completed a program with The Good Samaritan Shelter.

"I just want the opportunity to get back on my feet. Us veterans need a hand up, not a hand out," Villegas said.

The county believes it will be a positive outcome for both veterans and neighbors.

County staff also recommends giving The Good Samaritan Shelter an additional $85,000 dollars for its sober living and housing projects in Santa Maria and Lompoc.  

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