A lease to create temporary interim housing for homeless residents in Santa Maria will be considered by the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday.
The agenda item, approval of a ground lease and development management agreement, involves now vacant land on county-owned property at 2131 Southside Parkway at the Betteravia Government Center in Santa Maria.
During the meeting, DignityMoves also will provide a presentation on Hope Village, 94 cabins to house individuals or couples until they can move into permanent housing.
“DignityMoves’ Hope Village will be a temporary interim supportive housing community specifically for people experiencing homelessness in the Santa Maria Valley,” according to the staff report.
Specifically, 54 cabins would primarily served chronically homeless individuals and couples.
Ten cabins would house transitional age youth ages 18-24, many of whom are aging out of the foster system without a place to land.
Another 30 cabins would provide recuperative/respite care, which allows individuals experiencing homelessness to have a safe place to rest and recover after being in the hospital or dealing with medical issues.
Dining, laundry and storage facilities for residents and office and administration facilities for operation of the project also would be at the location, which will be screened with a fence.
The innovative public-private collaboration will involve Good Samaritan Shelters, Fighting Back Santa Maria Valley, Dignity Health’s Marian Regional Medical Center, DignityMoves, community philanthropy, and the county.
The Point in Time Count conducted in February 2022 determined that 1,962 people experienced homelessness in Santa Barbara County.
Of those, more than 70% live unsheltered in places not meant for human habitation — streets, riverbeds, beaches and encampments.
The Santa Maria Valley accounted for 23%, or 457 individuals experiencing homelessness, with 297 people living unsheltered.
“This project will provide needed beds to bring people indoors and facilitate services to transition individuals to longer-term housing,” according to the staff report. “Providing dignified rooms together with critical supportive services, this project will serve as a model for future projects countywide as permanent housing alternatives are developed.”
Residents would temporarily live at Hope Village, and receive needed services and transitions to a permanent place to live somewhere else.
Hope Village would allow couples to remain together and keep pets with their people, unlike other traditional shelters.
During a public meeting to explain the proposal to neighbors, county officials said Hope Village would exist for up to five years.
Neighbors expressed various concerns and opposition to the proposal, questioning the location and whether it would attract more homeless people to the area
County officials estimate that Hope Village would cost $5 million to create and $1.5 million to operate annually, with funding available for three years.
The public-private partnership has been modeled after a similar efforts on the South Coast, and involves funding from both government and nonprofit organizations.
Although the project would occur at the county’s campus in Santa Maria, the meeting to discuss the item will take place in Santa Barbara at the County Administration Building’s Board Hearing Room, 105 E. Anapamu St.
The meeting can be watched on cable Channel 20 or You Tube or the county’s website.
Testimony may be made in person or remotely with instructions spelled out on the agenda, available by clicking here.