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"Hope Village" to bring 94 temporary housing units to Santa Maria

Hope Village
Posted at 11:53 PM, Jan 25, 2023

In the coming months, dozens of our region's unsheltered population could soon be moving in to the vacant lot off Betteravia Road and Lakeside Parkway in Santa Maria.

Wednesday evening, at the County of Santa Barbara's government building in Santa Maria, local leaders unveiled their plans for "Hope Village", a 94 unit housing complex that would neighbor the offices of County supervisors Bob Nelson and Steve Lavagnino.

"These are folks that are living in the riverbed, they are living out in the street, they are living in that field right now. When I come here at night, there are homeless people right outside my office, curled up. We can do better in this country; we can do better in this city." District 5 Supervisor, Steve Lavagnino said.

"Often times, they are cautious to move into a congregate shelter, or a shelter where there is a lot of other people. This allows them to move into their own unit, have their own things in their unit and not have to feel like they are constantly protecting themselves or their things." added Sylvia Barnard, executive director of Good Samaritan Shelter, one of the several nonprofits assisting with the project.

The Hope Village development would be placed in the vacant lot off Lakeside Parkway, and Lavagnino says the location chosen for the project site was picked with a clear purpose, as well.

"it is directly across the street from Social Services, mental health, we have a public health clinic here. We have a probation department here. So, it is surrounded on three sides by county owned property." Lavagnino told KSBY.

"What is really important is that the service providers from all these buildings will come to the site and work with the clients. " noted Jack Lorenz, regional advancement officer with Dignity Moves. "We are insistent upon breaking down every single barrier that prevents someone from getting housing."

County leaders say the project will cost about $50,000 a unit to build, but they add that funding for the development has already been covered for the next three years.

"We have been able to bring in some private dollars, it is not just public money. It is private, public partnerships and that frees us up do some cooler designs, make it look more like a neighborhood, so it fits in more than us just building 90 sheds." explained Lavagnino.

The plans for Hope Village Santa Maria comes roughly half a year after 34 temporary homes were built in Santa Barbara last July, which Lorenz says has already yielded several success stories.

"Of those 34 units, 7 folks have already transitioned to permanent and stable housing, 11 of those folks have jobs which is pretty wonderful." Lorenz said.

Lavagnino says his fellow board members have also voiced their support for Santa Maria's tiny homes. He says the next steps are to hear community feedback, and then get shovels in the ground.'

Those we spoke with also added that each tenant will be paired with a case manager who will help them plan out an exit plan to get them into permanent housing, within six to twelve months of their stay at Hope Village.

County leaders anticipate early phases of the project will begin this spring, with future tenants likely moving in by the end of the year. If you, or someone you know is in need of temporary housing, they suggest you reach out to the Good Samaritan Shelter for further details.