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New Housing Offers Former Homeless People More Than A Roof Over Their Heads

Dozens of former homeless people in Isla Vista are off the streets and in their own homes.

The Pescadero Lofts held a ribbon cutting and celebration Tuesday as it opened its doors for the first time.

The former fraternity house on 761 Camino Pescadero in Isla Vista was transformed into the three-story structure.

Rand Drury is one of the people moving into one of the 26 studios and six one- bedroom apartments.

He lived on the streets off and on for 40 years, nearly half of them spent in Isla Vista.

“I knew this was my community. It seems like I’m more a part of it now to be an actual resident here,” Drury said.

The federal government and the Housing Authority of the County of Santa Barbara partnered on the $12 million project.

“Finding a stable, affordable, healthy place to live is typically the first step to somebody getting their life back together, said John Polanskey, director of housing development.

Employed tenants will pay 30 percent of their income for rent.

The unemployed will get Section 8 rental assistance, which will help maintain the property.

John Hedges, or Father John as the folks in Isla Vista call him, was instrumental in helping many people move in.

“Those who are not getting to move in a very real sense are celebrating as much as the ones that are moving in because this project has given hope to those that didn’t make it on the first cut. This project is going to work,” Hedges said.

The Pescadero Lofts will also offer mental health services, alcohol and drug counseling along with career and job training.

All tenants are expected to be settled into their new homes by Thursday.

To learn more about the Housing Authority and its Adopt A Room program click here

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