Isla Vista Recreation and Park District members questioned the feasibility of running a homeless center without the county’s support at Thursday night’s meeting.
The primary items of discussion at the IVRPD meeting consisted of the creation of a homeless service center/campground and the lack of crime in I.V. during UCSB’s Spring Break vacation. The IVRPD decided to relegate future discussion of a homeless service center in I.V. until after the Homeless Task Force Committee, an IVRPD subcommittee, meets later this month.
I.V. Development Peer Chris Omer said the need for a service center and public restrooms for the homeless are becoming an increasingly pressing need for the homeless community.
“I’ve been talking with many of the homeless by looking for them in the parks to figure out what could be done to alleviate some of the problems,” he said. “Of course, we talk about basic human rights like dignity and respect from others, but then they tell me that what they really need is a safe place to sleep.”
IVRPD Vice Chair Ariana Katovich said the Homeless Task Force, which will hold their second meeting sometime this month, was created with the issue of a homeless center in mind.
“We’ve brought this up before, and while we have a concept in our heads of what we want, we have to consult with staff about the logistics of making something like this happen,” she said. “It’s going to be a really big project.”
The proposed service center in I.V. could include lockers, phones, laundry, counseling and other services to the homeless. Board member Diane Conn said a project of this size should only be implemented by the county.
“This is really a huge undertaking, and it would require re-zoning of the land, among other things,” Conn said. “Projects like this elsewhere have always been done by the county.”
The I.V. Foot Patrol gave a brief crime statistics presentation for the month of March. The new IVFP lieutenant, Russell Bircham, said crime was almost nonexistent in I.V. from March 26 to April 1.
“What is remarkable about crime in I.V. over Spring Break was the lack of it,” Bircham said. “There were three residential burglaries and one automobile burglary, which are incredibly low numbers. Usually during Spring Break, when the students leave, the thieves come out and play.”
Bircham said sobriety checkpoints will be set up in I.V. within the next couple of months to control the amount of people driving under the influence.
“We will have to make a public announcement about the checkpoints, which we plan to direct toward outgoing traffic, but we hope to implement the checkpoints soon,” he said. “We’re also working to have a checkpoint set up on campus.”
Bircham said he also wanted to warn students about parking in construction zones in I.V.
“We had a lot of people come back from Spring Break thinking their car had been stolen, but it had actually been towed because they parked in a construction zone,” he said. “This has also been happening a lot since the students have come back. I just want everyone to know that if they park in a construction zone where the workers can’t get to their jobs, their cars will be towed.”