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"Little homes" in Lompoc will help house homeless families

little home location.JPG
little home sample courtesy palm harbor homes.JPG
Posted at 5:43 PM, Aug 13, 2019
and last updated 2019-08-13 21:33:07-04

Santa Barbara County Supervisors voted Tuesday to help fund two "little homes" in Lompoc.

The homes will primarily be for homeless single moms and are different than "tiny homes" because they are permanent fixtures.

The homes will be installed in the backyard of Mark's House, a transitional shelter owned by Good Samaritan.

"This would change someone's life because they would be able to get out of the shelter, get off the streets and give their child a stable environment to raise them in," explained Sylvia Bernard, Executive Director of Good Samaritan Shelter.

On Tuesday, Santa Barbara County Supervisors voted to give Good Samaritan a forgivable loan of nearly $200,000 to purchase two little homes and install them in Lompoc off North N Street.

The homes will serve up to six people with preference being given to single moms.

"Our shelter systems in both Santa Maria and Lompoc are full and our priority is families first, so it can be challenging getting people into services. I know there's a lot of coordinated services and everyone is working together to try and get more people who are unsheltered into shelters," Bernard said.

While this is a step in the right direction for helping the homeless in Lompoc, Mayor Jenelle Osborne says conversations addressing homelessness in the city pretty much stopped once funds were allocated to clean up the riverbed, without any plans to maintain the work.

"It's an ongoing issue. It's not something I believe will ever be solved as much as opportunities created for those who desire to transition out of that period of their lives into something more helpful and that requires investment in time and personnel and money, as well," Osborne explained.

Tiny homes, the more mobile version of what will be installed at Mark's House, could be a way to help the rest of the homeless population but they are not currently allowed under the city's zoning ordinance. Osborne says that could change when the city revisits the ordinance next month.

Good Samaritan estimates the new little homes will be up in six to eight months.

The county says if Good Samaritan uses the homes solely for housing the homeless for the next 15 years, the loan will be forgiven.