A plan to provide Old Orcutt with a new transitional home designed for either the homeless or those with low incomes undergoing addiction treatment moved forward Tuesday, when the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved the initiative.
Under the plan, Good Samaritan Shelter will be given $475,000 of the county’s federal money to acquire and rehabilitate the home, located at 220 S. First Street.
The money will be given with a 0-percent interest rate with payments deferred for the entire period of the loan, with full loan forgiveness after roughly 15 years, according to a staff report.
“Frankly, when I saw (this) in our agenda packet, I wanted to do a happy dance because I just thought that this is a great, great project,” said 2nd District Supervisor Janet Wolf.
Fifth District Supervisor Steve Lavagnino also supported the initiative.
“I think this is a perfect marriage,” Lavagnino said. “The fact that Good Samaritan is such a good steward really provides me comfort.”
While Good Samaritan's plan is to use the house for homeless veterans, there is nothing in its 84-page agreement with the county that requires the nonprofit to do so, according to county staff.
Fourth District Supervisor Peter Adam asked if something couldn’t be done to require Good Sam to house only homeless veterans, but legally, it couldn’t be done, according to county counsel.
Resident John Putney Jr., who owns property adjacent to the home, said that many neighbors are concerned over their privacy and over property values, claiming the proposed use is a bad fit for the area. Putney added that those opposed have been made to look unpatriotic, because of Good Sam's plan to eventually house veterans there.
“Those of us who are opposed to this have been made to feel like we’re unpatriotic or we hate veterans, and that’s not the case,” Putney said. “That’s my flag, too, and I don’t like being beaten into submission with it because we disagree.”
Specifically, the home will be used to provide “transitional or permanent housing to homeless persons or those undergoing alcohol or drug addiction treatment and whose household incomes are at or below 50-percent of the area median income,” according to the agreement.
In other action, the board approved:
- A staff recommendation to give Good Sam an additional $85,699 in funding to support its clean and sober living project in the Santa Maria area and its transformative housing project in Lompoc. The vote was unanimous.
- Renewing the proclamation of local emergency related to the Refugio Beach oil spill in May 2015. The vote was 4-1, with Adam dissenting.
- To keep a drought proclamation in place in response to current conditions. The vote was unanimous.
Next week, the board will focus on its budget hearings, which are scheduled to start Monday in Santa Barbara.