Alan Hunterman says he’d clean up the beach below Del Playa Drive whether he got paid or not.
But the $10 he now gets for each hour of cleanup helps Hunterman, a homeless resident of Isla Vista, make ends meet.
“I have a dog which runs up and down the beach, and I don’t like seeing glass,” he said. “I run barefoot up and down the beach, too. When I see all these surfboards lined up down DP, and I see all this garbage below, it doesn’t make sense.”
For the last three weeks, Hunterman and four other Isla Vista residents have cleaned the DP beach and the bluff area above, for which they were paid $20. The program, which is organized and directed by Isla Vista Community Development peer Chris Omer, pays five homeless or low-income residents for their work.
“The project was set up to address a few different things in the community. Part of that is to help clean up the beach. There’s a constant influx of trash out there,” Omer said. “It also opens up the opportunity for underprivileged people to employ themselves. This is primarily homeless people, but it is also intended to break down a lot of stereotypes that exist in I.V. about these groups of people.”
Omer’s program received $2,825 from the Shoreline Preservation Fund (SPF) to pay the worker’s stipend and cover the cost of cleaning supplies. SPF Chair Scott Bull said Omer’s project, which is called “More Ways Than One,” will include information along with the cleanup.
“People are going to be out there cleaning and they’ll be talking to people as well,” he said. “They may be going door to door on Del Playa and letting them know how important that it is not to throw their cigarettes, don’t throw your couches. People burn shit and throw it off the balcony and watch it burn on the beach, and it’s ridiculous.”
The SPF, which receives a $3 per student per quarter lock-in fee, gave over $500 each to six groups Winter Quarter. The largest of these grants was a $7,700 project to remove two invasive species, acacia and myoporum, and then re-seed the area around Coal Oil Point Reserve, Bull said.
“We’re pretty happy with the way this project has happened in the past; this is the second part of it,” he said. “It’s something that needs to be done, and the project probably wouldn’t happen without our help.”
The largest project was a $1.2-million watershed resource center, which the Community Environmental Council (CEC) is building at Arroyo Burro beach. The SPF gave $4,370 to the CEC to start an internship program for UCSB students. Beginning Spring Quarter, the CEC plans to pay two UCSB interns. They hope to increase this number to six over the summer, SPF member Phil Tseng said.
“This is something that our board feels will probably be funded in the future, continuously,” Tseng said. “We encourage UCSB students to make light of these student internship positions and really apply, because they’re really attractive.”
Tseng said the resource center will be a place for the community to learn about watershed issues, including problems with water pollution and development.
SPF also gave $1,884 to Friends of the Ellwood Coast to create a web page. The site would have two purposes, Tseng said – to report current issues on the property and to plan for an eventual acquisition of that property.
“A lot of students use that property to recreate, and it’s pretty important to know what the future of that property is,” Bull said.
The board also funded a project to develop a K-12 curriculum based on the ecology of Coal Oil Point. Beginning early next quarter, representatives from the project will hold tables at the reserve to inform people about the new curriculum, Bull said.