There is at least one drug- and alcohol-free house in Isla Vista this year, but for the time being, the manager of the residence has the place to himself.
New House Organization, a Santa Barbara-based group that provides sober living environments for men recovering from alcohol and drug dependency, opened its new location in I.V. at 6670 Sueno Rd. this summer. New House Executive Director Bill McCormack said the residence is intended to house up to 15 male students enrolled at UCSB, SBCC, and Westmont College. He said tenants share a double room in the house for $700 per month and everyone living in the building must maintain total sobriety for the duration of their stay.
McCormack said New House provides cooked meals and utilities to its I.V. tenants, as well as an environment in which people with substance abuse problems can attend college while staying sober.
“Our mission is to help recovering alcoholics and drug addicts to stay sober and become productive men of the community,” McCormack said.
Applicants must undergo an interview process and remain sober for 24 hours prior to moving into the house, McCormack said. He said he is confident that the positive environment within the house will help tenants maintain sober lifestyles and stay focused on school, in spite of the temptations presented by living in a college town like I.V.
“I talked to a lot of department heads [at UCSB] and it’s definitely needed out there, and it definitely will be hard for students with people partying around them,” McCormack said. “But if they are really serious about getting sober and doing well in school, it will be a help to them.”
New House I.V. is different from the organization’s other homes in Goleta and downtown Santa Barbara because the I.V. location is specifically geared towards students’ needs, McCormack said.
“It’s really a safe haven for students, without parties or noisy roommates,” McCormack said. “Curfew will be tied into library hours.”
Despite the number of rooms that are currently vacant in New House I.V., Manager Jim Daniels said he is not worried about finding tenants to live in the house. Daniels said he knows there are people in I.V. who are in need of a sober living environment, and he said he would like to begin interviewing potential residents in the near future.
“I am hoping as soon as possible we’ll be doing some interviews and bring people in,” Daniels said. “It shouldn’t be much too much longer. We’re looking for the next 15 [applicants].”
Isla Vista Foot Patrol Lieutenant Sol Linver said New House I.V. is still in a trial period and will be reevaluated after it has been open for a while.
“I think right now it is a pilot program so it is a matter of seeing what happens,” Linver said. “It’s a matter of finding out and seeing, and looking at it in six months or a year down the road.”
Jereme Zuanich, a senior computer science major and resident at 6674 Sueno – one of the houses neighboring New House I.V. – said he thinks students living in the residence will need to be very committed to staying sober.
“Chances are, they would have to stay shut in to stay away from the alcohol in I.V,” Zuanich said. “If it’s people who are trying to stay away from alcohol, it will probably be all right. If it’s people that need to be kept away from alcohol, it’s not gonna work out.”