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New tiny homes to relocate the unsheltered is now well underway for an April opening near Goleta

SANTA BARBARA COUNTY, Calif. - The 80-unit La Posada project now underway near Goleta is going to be life changing for hundreds of people living without permanent shelter.

It opens in April.

While work crews were vigorously constructing the units, those involved in making this plan happen gathered to explain the collaborations that made it happen. It's a blend of government, non-profit and philanthropic efforts and funding. Organizers say, it's a successful formula to make these projects a reality on a timeline, much faster than previous plans.

This will be the third project for DignityMoves that will make it  a total of 208 units in less than two years.  Good Samaritan Shelter services Director of Homeless Services, Kirsten Cahoon said, "we are profoundly lucky to have so many  services within our agency which  allow us to meet people where they are at, which is sometimes at their very darkness moment, and walk beside them into a better life."   
The site is the old vacant Juvenile Hall property off Hollister Avenue near Goleta.  It's bordered on one side by the Page Youth Center and also Highway 101.  Having the government land available saved millions in costs.
A representative from Governor Gavin Newsom's office says state funding from the $15.3 billion dollars in the proposed budget to address housing and homelessness is coming to work here.

A Senior Advisor on Homelessness for Governor Gavin Newsom, Hafsa Kaka said, there's $15.3-billion dollars in the proposed budget to address housing and homelessness issues and, "to get people off the street , provide them with supportive services and get them on a path of self sufficiency."

The tiny home project takes someone living outside and puts them in the temporary space as they prepare to move into more transitional housing.

All the services they need will be on site.
DignityMoves Board Member Aaron Edelheit says, "there's 24 -7 security.   There's people on site and because you heard from some of the people about the dollars we are getting from the state there will be mental health resources here all the time. All the county services  can come here."

Kaka said, "whether it's employment, whether it's mental health, whether it's substance abuse, whether it's family unification these are all so critical."

The location is right below a large homeless encampment that's been there for years.
In the camps the unsheltered were asked if they were ready to make the move.   One woman with health issues says she wants to go right away and was happy to hear she can bring her dog.
Jaimie Rainer said, "I have mental health issues and I have cptsd and so me having my dog is like one of the best things for me. When I am sad, he makes me not sad".

 Some of the others here were not receptive to the idea and have well established camps that have been on going health and safety issues for the county and the nearby neighborhoods.
The outreach teams will be talking to everyone there between now and when La Posada opens.

The DignityMoves project in downtown Santa Barbara, known as the  Santa Barbara Street Village   has been successful on many levels. Many of those who have been in the units have found permanent homes, some also found jobs or began classes at Santa Barbara City College.

In 2023, the County Board of Supervisors voted to partner with DignityMoves to build an additional 300 rooms throughout the county.

Prior to the La Posada Village, in the North County the  Hope Village in Santa Maria broke ground with 94 rooms for adult individuals and couples and youth experiencing homelessness.

DignityMoves says ten of these rooms are dedicated to young adults experiencing homelessness and 30 rooms provide recuperative/respite care services for the homeless to have a safe place to recover after a hospital discharge.

The balance of the rooms is for those experiencing chronic homelessness, mostly coming directly out of encampments nearby. Hope Village is scheduled to open on February 25, 2024.

At the Friday morning press conference for La Posada, among those to attend and speak were Duane Henry, from the TV show NCIS who said he has experienced homelessness in the past. Joining him was actress Meredith Baxter who starred in the show Family Ties.

Also speaking were, Laura Capps, Second District County Supervisor, Fire Chief Mark Hartwig, Toni Navarro, Director of Behavioral Wellness, County of Santa Barbara, Balay Ko, Balay Ko Foundation Kirsten McLaughlin, Market Vice President, Cox Communications. Cox made a presentation of a $100,000 grant check to the DignityMoves project on behalf of the James M. Cox Foundation, the charitable arm of Cox Enterprises.

Among the other attending included Supervisor Das Williams, Sheriff Bill Brown, County CEO Mona Miyasato, the entire Goleta City Council and representatives from State Assemblymember Gregg Hart and State Senator Monique Limon.

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