Homekey funds to help establish housing project in Isla Vista

Staff Report

The California Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) recently announced that the Santa Barbara County is receiving two funding awards totaling nearly $10 million to address homelessness.   

The first is Homekey Round 2 funding of $6.9 million awarded to the county in partnership with Good Samaritan Shelter. State HCD Director Gustavo Velasquez commented that today’s awardees “really showcase the essence of Homekey — projects that serve homeless youth, from a housing project near a major university to a motel conversion with a whole suite of supportive services to get people back on their feet, [sic] housing to give folks a fresh start.”

“We are ecstatic to learn that the soon-to-be-named housing project in Isla Vista has been awarded almost $7 million in a Homekey grant,” said Third District County Supervisor Joan Hartmann. “This project demonstrates that, with the right kinds of support, people who have lived unsheltered for years can indeed get stabilized and turn their lives around. It is an incredibly rewarding effort to be part of, requiring the coordinated work of so many different county and community partners. We are tremendously gratified by this stellar result.” 

Second District County Supervisor Gregg Hart added, “This grant will help make an immediate difference in the lives of vulnerable community members by providing individuals with a safe place to stay, access to services, and an entry point into permanent housing. We are committed to working with our local cities and community partners to identify additional sites for transitional and permanent supportive housing throughout Santa Barbara County.”

Homekey is a California program to purchase and rehabilitate housing, including hotels, motels, vacant apartment buildings and other properties, and convert them into permanent, long-term housing for people experiencing or at risk of experiencing homelessness. 

The county was also awarded funding of $2.734 million from Emergency Solutions Grants Coronavirus (ESG-CV). The county previously received an ESG-CV award of $7 million in 2021 for use in the Santa Maria/Santa Barbara County Continuum of Care service area for emergency sheltering, outreach and rapid re-housing. 

Emergency Solutions Grant Coronavirus Program was funded as part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Stimulus (CARES) Act. The funds are designated to prevent, prepare for, and respond to the Coronavirus among individuals and families who are experiencing homelessness by assisting with housing. 

For information about the County Housing and Community Development Division of the Community Services Department, go to www.countyofsb.org/housing.