Buena Tierra project.
The Buena Tierra project will convert the former Super 8 motel at 6021 Hollister Ave. in Goleta into permanent supportive housing. (Serena Guentz / Noozhawk photo)

The Buena Tierra project, converting the former Goleta Super 8 motel into permanent supportive housing, is making progress toward its goal of housing local people experiencing homelessness as the Housing Authority of the County of Santa Barbara has begun accepting applications through the county’s Coordinated Entry System.

An access point has opened at the Showers of Blessings center at St. Athanasius Church at 300 Sumida Gardens Lane in Goleta from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Thursdays. At the access point, potential applicants can begin the housing assessment process with the Coordinated Entry System, which verifies eligibility for housing programs and helps match homeless people to housing and services.

Goleta’s community relations manager, Kelly Hoover, emphasized that the Showers of Blessings site is not a place to directly apply for Buena Tierra housing, but it is a good place to start the housing assessment process.

“We are heartened to learn that this October the transformation of the former Super 8 hotel into Buena Tierra will be complete,” Goleta Mayor Paula Perotte said in a recent news release. “We are also pleased that people experiencing homelessness can access a Coordinated Entry System site to be connected to services.”

The permanent supportive housing project, at 6021 Hollister Ave., is a collaboration between the Housing Authority of the County of Santa Barbara — which will run operations at Buena Tierra — the City of Goleta and Santa Barbara County

The housing development will consist of 65 total units, with 59 units providing a new home for people experiencing homelessness, one unit housing an on-site property manager, and five units to be converted to community space for a “robust offering” of services, according to the City of Goleta.

Of the 59 supportive housing units, 36 will be reserved for people experiencing chronic homelessness — defined as “an individual with a permanent disability and has been homeless for at least 12 months” — and 15 units are set to be reserved for homeless young adults ages 18 to 24 or youths at risk of homelessness.

Renovations and conversion work of the former motel include adding modular kitchenettes to the units, expansion of the electrical room, renovation of a laundry room and community room, and more that is detailed in an environmental assessment prepared by Rincon Consultants.

The Buena Tierra development has received nearly $19 million in state funding for new Homekey projects, as well as additional funding reserved by the City of Goleta and by the county.

Other local housing projects in the county to receive state Homekey funding include Homekey Studios in Lompoc, which was awarded $3.12 million, and Hedges House of Hope in Isla Vista, which was awarded $6.99 million.

The county Board of Supervisors also approved a resolution Tuesday to authorize the county community services director to submit an application for Homekey grant funding for an eight-unit project near Mission Street in Santa Barbara to provide permanent supportive housing for transitional-age youths.

If the state Homekey grant funds are awarded for this project, the City of Santa Barbara, Santa Barbara County and the Turner Foundation also have committed to contributing matching funds.

Additionally, the Board of Supervisors is scheduled to hold a special meeting at 10:30 a.m. Wednesday to consider approving a no-interest loan of $90,000 to the Turner Foundation to use for this project as an earnest money deposit for the acquisition of the property at 2011 Oak Ave. in Santa Barbara.