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Isla Vista homeless may soon get housing help and camp cleanups

Temporary housing structures may be brought in for Isla Vista homeless
Homeless camp
John Palminteri
The growing number of homeless camps are becoming a health and safety concerns in Santa Barbara County. In Isla Vista a relocation plan is being discussed to help find secure housing sites. (Photo: John Palminteri)
Isla Vista homeless
John Palminteri
Temporary housing structures may be brought in for Isla Vista homeless
Isla Vista homeless
John Palminteri
Temporary housing structures may be brought in for Isla Vista homeless
Isla Vista homeless
John Palminteri
Temporary housing structures may be brought in for Isla Vista homeless

ISLA VISTA, Calif. - The growing number of homeless sites in Isla Vista has become a priority concern for Santa Barbara County. A cleanup plan and relocation into safer housing is in the works.

The Santa Barbara County Fire department has reviewed the main camp location near Embarcadero Hall and found fire risks along with health and safety concerns.

A cleanup effort using many agencies who will also assist those living in the camps with homeless relocation housing if they are willing to come off the streets.

It has been successful in other areas.

Current concerns include unsafe living conditions, use of fire in an unapproved areas, biohazards and the growing health risks to the nearby community.

A temporary housing shelter would be funded through government grants and last no more than six months. Additional housing efforts will be an ongoing process.

Groups like Americorps are out making one on one contact with the Isla Vista homeless on a regular basis.

"We were out with Parks and Rec this morning and we started at Camino Corto and moved our way over  just checking in with the various people and seeing what their needs are. We have outreach every week," said Heike Huson with Americorps.

Santa Barbara County Supervisors  are hoping to use federal funds to start a temporary housing relocation project near the Isla Vista Community center in the parking lot.

It's not far from where 40 to 60 people are living in a park  in tents.

Ron Moomey cleans the homeless camps in I.V.
"I've run across a lot of  drug paraphernalia out here," he said. He works through a United Way program.

He says the campsites have grown during the COVID conditions."It's gotten out of hand, it's over the hill, " said Moomey.

He also says you don't see kids playing in the park anymore."Their parents don't feel comfortable letting their kids play in the park because they don't know what's what," said Moomey.
The proposal to the Board of Supervisors would involve a supervisors shelter or temporary housing relocation program for six months.

Moomey says, " I believe a good majority of them would follow along with the plan. "

Seeing a receptive group in the camps,  Hyson says, " I would say for the most part they are very responsive.  Most of them are really accepting of support."

 Moomey says he is ready to move from a loaned RV to a temporary structure and after that into lower cost housing. "Where do I sign the paperwork? I'm ready and my wife is too."

Nadia Keller is homeless in Isla Vista and is on a waiting list for housing. "The students they have an open heart, this generation compared to when I went to school in the 80's they have empathy they bring us clothing," said Keller.

Watch tonight on KEYT NewsChannel 3, KCOY NewsChannel 12 and KKFX Fox 11 news.

(More details, photo and information will be added here later today.)

To ready the full report go to : Santa Barbara County Supervisors

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John Palminteri

John Palminteri is senior reporter for KEYT News Channel 3-12. To learn more about John, click here.


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