As part of ongoing efforts to provide housing services for Isla Vista’s growing population of houseless residents, 20 temporary pallet homes were delivered to the parking lot of the Isla Vista Community Center on Dec. 7; after a week of set-up, the homes can shelter up to 40 houseless residents.
The 64-square-foot temporary homes were delivered by Pallet, a company that designs and produces aluminum composite shelters for people experiencing houselessness, according to its website.
After delivery and assembly, the housing will be managed by Good Samaritan — a Santa Barbara county-based houselessness assistance agency — and aims to connect its residents with other housing options including permanent housing assistance, counseling and case management, according to Kimberlee Albers, the county’s homeless assistance program manager.
Each pallet house includes electricity, beds, climate control, locking doors and windows, ventilation and a fire extinguisher, according to Pallet’s website. Part of the week-long set up will involve the county wiring electricity to the homes.
In total, the project will cost around $900,000, but because the county only has enough federal funding from COVID-19 aid relief to sustain operations for six months, the site will expire in June, Albers said at the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors Nov. 10 meeting.
By the end of the temporary housing program, Albers said Good Samaritan expects 15% of the pallet homes’ residents to move on to permanent housing. The overall goal, according to Sylvia Barnard, Good Samaritan’s executive director, is to get as many residents as possible into other housing options.
“At the end of those six months, everyone will have either a housing plan, an alternative shelter plan, or [were] reinvited to their families.” Barnard said. “At that point we can actually shut down and be able to shut down and let Isla Vista go back to how we know it.”
Joan Hartmann, Santa Barbara County third district supervisor, voiced support for the plan at both the Board of Supervisors’ meeting and the Nov. 10 Isla Vista Community Services District (I.V. CSD) meeting.
“We’ve got the money. It’s ‘use-it-or-lose-it’ money. So we have the money to spend on this. And we want to use it for a good purpose,” Hartmann said at the Nov. 10 meeting.
In order to promote COVID-19 safety among the residents, Good Samaritan will not put two people from different household units in the same shelter together and will encourage residents to social distance when outside, according to Albers.
But not all houseless residents welcome the pallet housing. Some residents said they believe the county’s money would be better spent elsewhere, such as on park maintenance or job openings for houseless residents.
Jake, a resident in Sueño Orchard Park who preferred to be identified by his first name for privacy concerns, suggested that the county hire houseless residents living in parks to maintain them. That way, Jake said, “everybody who wants to get back to society now has a job opportunity.”
“I would move out of town or to another location but there really isn’t another location. So we [the park residents] need to take care of this place as well,” Jake said, adding that he wants to help maintain the parks and has already reached out to no avail.
While the county is well within its right to allow Good Samaritan access to the Isla Vista Community Center since it owns the building, the Isla Vista Recreation & Parks District (IVRPD) owns the parking lot. On Nov. 23, the county signed an agreement with the IVRPD to use the parking lot as part of the housing site, Albers said.
The I.V. CSD does not need to facilitate the project, as it is being handled by the county, but its directors unanimously expressed approval for the project at its Nov. 10 meeting.
During the Nov. 10 Board of Supervisors meeting, Father Jon Hedges, an outgoing director on the I.V. CSD, spoke about I.V’s dire housing situation and its exigency for new solutions.
“Many of our American neighbors face the pandemic this winter, while sleeping rough on our streets, and in our public open space is in itself a disaster,” Hedges said. “It is a category five, no less than what I saw after Katrina, Sandy, and Michael.”
There are acres of empty dorms across the street. UCSB–have you no humanity?
Looks like the show yesterday at the tent city in park was a matinee deal! From what I hear, assault, battery, blood was spilled and the best part is local media kept hush hush about it. Now why would they do that? LOL! What the people in charge of the homeless, houseless, whatever need to realize is the simple fact that you can’t and won’t fix these individuals. They don’t want to be fixed. They’ve burned every bridge behind them, they want everything to be done for them and they want everything for free. Many also have a penchant for… Read more »
Rick, don’t know if we ever met before here in Isla Vista, but it’d sure be fun to hang out at Woodstocks, have some beers and laughs, compliments of the tent city denizens! On a serious note, I’ve been homeless before, was living in my van, did that for almost a year and guess what? Never once did I pollute or disrespect where I “camped” and never once did I hit anyone up for spare change, never once did I depend on others to cater to me. I worked, saved my money, went to school, did everything the way it’s… Read more »
The temporary housing is 20 feet away from apartment buildings full of young girls and naive students. This is a terrible idea
Jack, kind sir, how dare you? Although your comment makes absolute sense and is a logical statement on every level, that’s for naught. The issue here is there’s money to be made from the homeless industry, you have to cash in when the stakes are high. If they were focused on the “real” homeless that’d be no problem, But instead, they’re creating a haven for these tweakers and junkies. Any coincidence this is right next to the Isla Vista Clinic? That way Narcan is within easy reach. How convenient! Why do you think they put that green tennis court netting… Read more »
Imagine how much of an obnoxious falling down drunk or ranting schizophrenic you have to be before none of your family or prior friends will take you in.
You ain’t kidding man! With all due respect, not to sound like a dick, but I do have to correct something in your comment though. The “ranting schizophrenic” thing, I gotta say that’s kind of a wrong. Schizophrenia is a natural occuring mental disorder, a true mental illness, something that pops up in an out of control manner that the inflicted has no knowledge or control over. In the case of these tent city individuals that are causing problems, let’s face it, 100% tweakers and junkies and truthfully, they’re a pain in the ass and yes, they always will be.… Read more »
Saw something weird today at the park. A bunch of the aggro tweakers were breaking down down and getting the hell out of Dodge! Looks like IVPRD is NOT backing down on their dismantle order and the tweakers and junkies who don’t meet the pallet village criteria are hitting the skids! This is a major victory for IV residents! Soon they won’t have to deal with those slimeballs anymore! Now it comes down to the pallet village and if those in charge and residing there will make it work. This is going to get good! Anyone want to make any… Read more »
Eerie scene in the park, you have to see it to believe it. Looks like somebody rented those orange cargo carts from Home Depot, probably to get the tent dwellers to move all their crap to designated storage, hopefully a dumpster. There was a black and orange sign next to the sidewalk on the Embarcadero Del Mar side that said “RENT TODAY” in white letters. Really somber mood there, looks like the end to the tweaker/junkie free for all is drawing to a close! Good bye, good riddance, get out and don’t come back! You’ve been HORRIBLE “houseless neighbors” and… Read more »