What is La Posada?
The proposed La Posada Project will be an interim supportive housing community serving people experiencing homelessness in Southern Santa Barbara County. Permanent housing is the longer-term goal, and La Posada closes the gap between living outdoors and housing stability, where residents can be safe and receive the critical supportive services needed. La Posada is a public private collaboration between DignityMoves, the County of Santa Barbara, and the selected operator and service provider.
Why is the project needed?
As of February 2023, approximately 1, 890 people were experiencing homelessness in Santa Barbara County on any given night. Of those, over 70% (approximately 1,200) live unsheltered in places not meant for human habitation: on streets, along riverbeds, on beaches, and in encampments. Approximately 1,000 of the people experiencing homelessness in the County are located in South County, which includes Eastern Goleta Valley as well as Carpinteria, Santa Barbara, Goleta, and Isla Vista. This project provides critically needed beds and supportive services to bring people indoors.
Why private rooms?
Many people experiencing homelessness are reluctant to accept a bed at a congregate (group) shelter. At La Posada, each individual or couple will have their own private cabin with a door that locks. This sense of safety, privacy and dignity allows people to move forward with the services needed to end their homelessness.
Who will get to stay at La Posada?
The community will have up to 90 cabins. Each cabin is designed to house one individual or couple. All cabins are for those experiencing homelessness in Southern Santa Barbara County, including Eastern Goleta Valley, many of whom will have experienced homelessness for extended periods of time and have a permanent disability.
The referral process is coordinated by the Continuum of Care (CoC) to match the right interim housing option with the needs of the person experiencing homelessness. Service providers work with the CoC to expedite referrals. It is anticipated that individuals will be on site for 180 days on average.
How and why was this location chosen?
The countywide Community Action Plan to Address Homelessness, adopted by the Board of Supervisors as well as all of the cities in South County, called on agencies to identify publicly owned properties suitable for interim housing developments. This location is owned by the County of Santa Barbara and is in proximity to critical support services (public health, social services, Veterans’ services) provided on the County campus located at Camino del Remedio.
How long will the interim housing development be at this site?
The project will be at this location for approximately 5 years. The cabins have an estimated useful life of over 20 years; after 5 years they will be repurposed and moved to alternative locations to assist other persons in need of interim housing. During the 5-year period, the County of Santa Barbara and partners will continue to pursue permanent housing options throughout the county to transition individuals from temporary housing to longer-term stable housing solutions.
How many people will be served at the community?
Approximately 20% will be couples, thus the total number of residents at one time will be approximately 100 persons.
What supportive services will be offered at the site?
Care tailored to the service needs of individuals residing at the site. Clients will be connected to mental health care, addiction services, Social Security and other benefits along with providing job placement resources, even transportation to off-site appointments.
How will the site be secured?
The operator will provide 24/7 staffing, including professional security. All staff are trained in de-escalation and conflict resolution. The operator and service provider will work closely with local law enforcement and public safety agencies such as County Fire to ensure the community is safe, and any concerns are addressed immediately.
Will pets be allowed?
Pets are often an important source of support for people experiencing homelessness. At La Posada, residents will be allowed to bring their beloved pets; a pet relief area will be provided on-site.
Is this a drop-in center? Will people be coming in and out of the location?
La Posada is not a drop-in center, and guests will not be allowed. Only current residents, staff, and pre- approved support teams such as social workers will be coming and going. Programs, services, and recreation opportunities are provided on the site. Residents will not be allowed to loiter outside of the community. Clients may travel to and from appointments and employment with transportation provided. Ample services and recreation opportunities will be provided on-site.
What is the County’s plan to resolve encampments?
The County Board of Supervisors adopted a comprehensive Encampment Resolution Strategy and Protocol on August 31, 2021. The Strategy gave us the framework to resolve encampments, but the challenge is lack of interim and permanent housing. This has limited the ability resolve active encampments at scale, as current case law is interpreted to require interim housing availability. The County must abide by all current laws regarding displacement from public property.
How does this project help resolve encampments?
Currently the County of Santa Barba does not have sufficient interim housing to make adequate offers of shelter on a consistent basis. Therefore, large scale encampments cannot be fully resolved. Unsheltered homelessness is unsafe, unacceptable, and must be addressed with urgency. The La Posada development will provide the interim housing needed in order to resolve encampments in the dangerous transit corridor and waterways. Interim housing helps end unsheltered homelessness and encampments and is critical while additional permanent housing opportunities are developed.
What is the process of resolving encampments?
After an encampment is discovered and reported, the County’s Encampment Response Team assesses the site based on safety, health, size, and location. Homeless service providers engage persons on the site and continue case management until interim housing is available. Once interim housing is available, the site is posted with a 72-hour notice regarding removal of property; then, interim housing offers are made, and a contracted agency removes biohazardous and non-biohazardous encampment waste material.
What are the rooms like? Are they the same as the rooms in Santa Barbara?
The cabins at La Posada will be substantially similar to those at DignityMoves developments in Santa Barbara and Santa Maria. Boss Cubez, a well-established Southern California based vendor, custom-designed-and-built the cabins for DignityMoves to meet the California emergency shelter building code. The buildings are constructed with a prefabricated panel system and assembled on-site with minimal tools and equipment required. Sleeping cabins for individuals will be 64 square feet, and 85 square feet for couples and those with disabilities. Several of the rooms will have private bathrooms for those with specific medical needs requiring different access.
Unlike other “tiny homes”, the Boss Cubez cabins are extremely durable with steel frames and 2-inch-thick walls. Most importantly, they are made from a fire resistant composite material—with the highest possible fire rating. This allows placement of the rooms in close proximity to one another without fire concerns. The cabins have high-vaulted ceilings to make them feel spacious, and large windows to provide ample light. Each room will have lights and electrical outlets.
Who designed the project?
The world-renowned architectural design firm Gensler is designing the community. Gensler uses a trauma-informed approach to designing DignityMoves villages in a way that is aesthetically pleasing and creates a true sense of community. While the site is not immediately visible to passersby, Gensler will work ensure that the project reflects the look and feel of the area.
What will the community be like?
In addition to the sleeping cabins, the community will have several offices for case managers and staff, a dining building, flexible meeting spaces for case management, a clinical building, and buildings with communal bathroom/shower/toilet stalls. Laundry facilities and ample storage for residents’ excess personal belongings will be available as will a community garden, outdoor patio and recreation areas, a dog run, and a computer lab. The community-style living of communal bathrooms and dining will foster frequent interactions for residents with staff and with peers.
How long will construction take, and what will be the hours of construction?
The hours of construction will adhere to the Department of Building Inspection’s typical permitted hours (7AM-8PM); however, the County does not anticipate using any heavy equipment before 8AM or after 6PM.
Who is paying for the project?
The project is funded through various public and private sources. Community based philanthropy will fund a large component of construction. The cabins are funded through the CA Encampment Resolution Fund, a grant designated to addressing homeless encampments along the transit corridor; services and operations will be funded through CA Homeless Housing, Assistance and Prevention (HHAP) and the CA Behavioral Health Bridge Housing (BHBH) program.
Is there an opportunity for the community to help?
Absolutely! Private donations are still needed for development and on-going needs of the project. There will be an opportunity to “Adopt A Room” and bring bedding, decorations, and a welcome basket to make each room truly special. The community will need volunteers to assemble furniture, pot plants, paint murals, and more. When the community is open, there will be opportunities to participate in supporting the residents, such as serving meals, conducting art classes, and engage in other enrichment activities.
Who can we contact if there are concerns or questions?
During the construction of the project there will be a point of contact from the construction team that can field concerns related to construction management. Once open their will be a 24/7 contact person provided by the service provider. Staff is onsite 24/7.
To learn more about the proposed project please contact: Jack Lorenz <firstname.lastname@example.org>