South Coast Community To Build Temporary Housing For Area Homeless People

Nov 11, 2020

A growing number of homeless encampments in an Isla Vista park - which some residents are even describing as a tent city - has become an issue for Santa Barbara County.

The solution? Small, temporary pop-up houses may soon be installed in a nearby parking lot as a shelter area.

Fire officials say there are many risks to the current setup. Not only have they identified health and safety problems, but they say that if a fire set up for cooking or warmth were to get out of control, it could quickly spread to nearby structures.

The new effort was launch by Santa Barbara County using funding from the CARES Act, with a budget of about one million dollars set aside for the new, temporary pallet houses.

The project is expected to last six months, and will be under the auspices of the Isla Vista Community Center.

Pop-up houses provide a controlled environment for unhoused persons to move into, and at the same time the project can provide an assessment for how to transition them into more permament housing.

Heike Huson with Americorps says that she believes the unhoused people being offered the temporary shelter will respond positively.

"I'd say for the most part, they're very responsive. Most of them are very accepting of support," Huson says.