The permanent supportive housing project in the former Super 8 motel in Goleta — at 6021 Hollister Ave. — is getting closer to welcoming residents as conversion work continues.
The project, a collaboration of the Housing Authority of the County of Santa Barbara, the City of Goleta and Santa Barbara County, is converting the former motel into supportive housing with on-site services for people experiencing homelessness or who are at risk of homelessness.
“You can see people’s lives turn around,” Third District Supervisor Joan Hartmann said about the project and others similar to it. “If you give people a place to live, a door to lock and the support services, they really can turn their lives around, and it’s one of the most gratifying things in the world.”
A community meeting was held at the development site last Thursday, allowing community members to learn more about the progress of the project as well as view some of the units that are being converted.
The development will have a total of 65 units — 59 supportive housing units, one unit housing an on-site property manager, and the remaining five units converted for the use of support services or community spaces.
Additionally, each unit will include a bed, a kitchenette and a bathroom. Most of the units will be single occupancy, but some may accommodate multiple household members.
Goleta Councilman Stuart Kasdin said that most of the supportive housing project’s residents will be people from the area.
“We can make a huge impact on the people who are in encampments now,” Kasdin said.
According to John Polanskey, director of housing development for the Housing Authority of the County of Santa Barbara, the total cost of the project is about $19.5 million, of which about $15.3 million is being funded by a state Homekey award, with the remaining funded by the City of Goleta and Santa Barbara County.
The Santa Barbara Alliance for Community Transformation will be providing support services, which will include health services, medical screenings, services from the county’s Public Health Department and from Cottage Hospital, one-on-one counseling and more.
Polanskey said other services and activities also will be held in common areas, such as workshops for healthy cooking or help with résumé writing.
“The goal of this property is to stabilize people’s lives,” said Bob Havlicek, executive director of the Housing Authority of the County of Santa Barbara. “People will stay an average of one to three years, they will stabilize their lives, get the supportive help they need, and move to another development and move on with their life.”
Havlicek and Polanskey said the goal is to start housing people in the development by the end of April.
— Noozhawk staff writer Serena Guentz can be reached at email@example.com. Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.