SANTA BARBARA, CALIFORNIA, USA, August 12, 2022 /EINPresswire.com/ — DignityMoves, the County of Santa Barbara, Good Samaritan Shelters, and the City of Santa Barbara announce the opening of a 35-room temporary, interim housing community at 1016 Santa Barbara Street in downtown Santa Barbara. The collaborative project was led by DignityMoves, a California-based nonprofit that provides temporary, interim housing solutions for people experiencing homelessness.
The community provides a dignified and private space for each of its residents, has a desk, bed, window, heating, air conditioning, and most importantly, a door that locks. This site is the first of this type in California’s central coast region. As a priority, the units will be filled primarily by people who have been living on the streets in the immediate area of the project.
In addition to individual rooms, the DignityMoves Santa Barbara community also includes restrooms, showers, laundry facilities, a dining hall, computer lab, and community spaces. Intensive case management and support services will be provided by Good Samaritan. Good Samaritan has over 27 years of experience working with people experiencing homelessness in Santa Barbara County. They provide an emotionally safe, trauma-informed environment where residents can be connected to mental and behavioral healthcare support and additional community resources.
The project was thoughtfully designed by the leading architectural design firm Gensler to reference the local Santa Barbara aesthetic, including terra cotta colored roofs and a beautiful arched entry. The structures, custom-designed by Boss Homes, are a state-of-the-art panel system made of 30% recycled materials that is highly fire resistant and insulated. Santa Barbara-based BevyHouse built a building for bathrooms, showers, and laundry facilities using a converted shipping container. PAE Engineers, Degekolb and others contributed free or discounted services.
The community will serve as “interim supportive housing”– a place where people can come in off of the streets to receive the critical supportive services from Good Samaritan while they work towards more permanent paths out of homelessness. Elizabeth Funk, the Founder and CEO of DignityMoves commented: “Our streets cannot be the waiting room. The longer people are on the streets, trauma takes a serious toll making future successful outcomes much more challenging. DignityMoves provides rapid, cost-effective ways to bring people indoors immediately to avoid perpetuating that trauma and begin rebuilding their lives.”
The project was made possible thanks to a true public-private partnership between the County of Santa Barbara and many generous community donors. The County of Santa Barbara will provide funding for ongoing supportive services and site operations, including meals and security at the cost of $3.6million over three years. The construction of the site cost approximately $1.7 million of which the County of Santa Barbara contributed $700K.
The balance came from the Balay Ko Foundation, The La-Centra-Summerlin Foundation, The Santa Barbara Women’s Fund, The Santa Barbara Foundation, The James S. Bower Foundation, The Zegar Foundation, Wells Fargo Bank, and many others. Furniture was donated by IKEA, Living Spaces, and MedLine. Congregation B’nai B’rith and the First United Methodist Church were also instrumental in the success of the project. Local families prepared each room with individualized bedding, decorations, toiletries, and welcome notes. Volunteers from the Balay Ko Foundation spent days painting the ground of the site, making it all the livelier.
The project will remain in place for approximately three years, after which the County anticipates beginning construction of a permanent housing project planned for the same location. With an expected durability of over 20 years, the portable units will then be relocated to another location in the County.
DignityMoves opened a similar project in San Francisco recently, with several more projects planned across California. This is the first of many communities DignityMoves hopes to build in Santa Barbara County relying on the support of local organizations, volunteers, and service providers to aid in restoring dignity for the city’s unhoused neighbors. The supervisor of Santa Barbara’s first district, Das Williams reflects on the opening: I am so proud to have this bridge housing project in my District where unsheltered individuals will make their first steps toward getting off the streets and into permanent housing. It shows what is possible when we all work together for real solutions for our homeless– moving them into homes. The County is looking to do many more of these projects in all areas, so if you have a parking lot or other vacant land available, please let us know.”
DignityMoves works to end unsheltered street homelessness in our communities through the construction of Interim Supportive Housing as a rapid, cost-effective, scalable solution. Using innovative approaches such as prefabricated materials and modular housing, DignityMoves takes advantage of vacant parking lots or other underutilized sites to build temporary “pop-up” communities which can be relocated as necessary. DignityMoves also develops permanent sites such as those funded by California’s Project Homekey program. DignityMoves has many relocatable projects underway as well as Homekey projects in both Rohnert Park and Alameda. For information on bringing a DignityMoves community to your city, a press kit, or to donate to this work, please visit www.dignitymoves.org. A press kit and photographs for the 1016 Santa Barbara site can be found here.
About Good Samaritan
The Mission of Good Samaritan Shelter is to provide emergency, transitional and affordable housing with support services to the homeless and those in recovery throughout the Central Coast. Their staff and volunteers aim to celebrate and foster relationships that create wellness, wholeness, and an environment of hope for every human being. For approximately 30 years, Good Samaritan Shelter has focused on its commitment to provide emergency, transitional and affordable housing with support services to the homeless and those in recovery throughout the Central Coast. For more information, please visit www.goodsamaritanshelter.org
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