Santa Barbara County’s Domestic Violence Solutions (DVS) has announced its plan to open a new housing complex that will cater to survivors of domestic violence.

The development will include 10 to 12 units located in Santa Maria and will help support North County’s victims by supplementing Santa Barbara’s overburdened Second Stage program – a next step for those who sought emergency residence in one of the county’s shelters.

“Every year we are forced to turn away some 43 women and 100 children from our first transitional housing program in Santa Barbara,” DVS Executive Director Rebecca Robertson said. “[This] speaks very clearly to the need for more transitional housing services – particularly in the North County.”

The new housing project will be called Mariposa House, after the butterfly, meant to signify a new stage of life that DVS hopes to give its clients.

Mariposa House is expected to hold up to 12 women and 24 children in a semipermanent residency. These one-bedroom, furnished units will provide transitional housing for women who initially took refuge in one of DVS’ three 24-hour emergency shelters located in Santa Barbara, Santa Maria and Lompoc.

DVS’ new development will provide a safe place for domestic violence victims to recover from the trauma of domestic abuse and will allow them to find employment, child care and permanent housing, as well as help them resolve custody issues and gain restraining orders. The development will also include resources such as office space, counseling rooms, a play yard and activity room for children, laundry facilities and off-street parking. Mariposa House guests are expected to stay for up to 18 months.

These units will be provided at a very low cost to DVS clients.

“[The U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development] requires that we charge 30 percent of each client’s income for rent,” DVS Associate Executive Director of Development Leslie Goodman said. “This means if they have no income, they pay no rent until they’ve found a job.”

Although the project is expected to be complete by November or December of this year, DVS has yet to find a site for Mariposa House. While $664,000 has been secured for the development’s purchase, the expected cost of the project is $1 million to $1.2 million.

Two events will be held this weekend to help raise funds for Mariposa House. Local writer Tita Lanning will host a benefit party at her home on Saturday, May 3. Tickets cost $100 per person and all proceeds will be donated to DVS. On Sunday, May 4, the North County’s Eighth Annual Golf Classic will be held at Blacklake Golf Resort in Nipomo and will also benefit DVS.

“We are relying on the community to provide the remaining funds for this much-needed facility. We invite those who wish to help women and children escape domestic violence to call us at 963-4458,” Robertson said.