Tiny houses coming to SB: SB City Council approved a proposal on "tiny homes" to combat homelessness
Views 18 | Time to read: 3 minutes | Uploaded: 11 - 28 - 2018 | By: Brandon Jones
The Santa Barbara City Council approved a proposal this week for 40 new “tiny homes” to be erected downtown to provide housing for the homeless. The project would cost more than $6 million, paid for by a grant from Homeless Emergency Aid Program, which was enacted in California earlier this year. This downtown site will be at the corner of Castillo and Carrillo Streets, which is currently a parking lot for people working in the area. According to Noozhawk, the facilities in the parking lot would include “temporary electricity, common shower and sanitary facilities, and meals.” This project will combine the efforts of a lot of different local organizations, such as the Cottage Hospital, Santa Barbara police department, PATH, and CityNet. These tiny homes are fully functioning houses, with a working kitchen, bathroom, and queen-size lofted bed.
Although this project seems beneficial to everyone in the area, there has been some pushback by members of the community who felt the project was rushed and not properly thought-out or talked through with the people who it will end up affecting the most. The Santa Barbara City Council deemed the rushed decision necessary because of the need for a site to be chosen to secure the funding they needed. The council did not have very many choices for sites for this project, and jumped at the opportunity to secure this spot in downtown SB. Based on the comments of local residents, the pushback comes not from a place of contempt for the homeless, but rather from a place of concern for the safety of the people living in the area. People who are living around this site already deal with homeless people sleeping on their lawns and trespassing on property and they want to be ensured that this will help the homeless problem, not exacerbate it. These residents are raising questions on the amount of tiny homes being put in the lot, as well as the timing of the proposal, as they were given no notice that this project was in the works.
Several Councilmen and women have given their input on the proposal, including Councilwoman Kristen Sneddon. She asked the city to look into other sites that could work, while also offering her support for the idea of tiny homes as a whole. She was quoted by Noozhawk saying that she wants updates and increased police patrols for the neighborhood surrounding the corner lot, and feels that “this is a great opportunity to show where [tiny homes] could be. I have been supportive of this for a long time.”
Fellow Councilman Gregg Hart brought up the fact that the entire state is trying to deal with the homeless and housing problem, and that although there is funding now available, issues will still arise. When asked about the timing and scope of the grant application, Hart said the city was trying to hit a homerun, instead of going for singles and doubles. He feels the proposal is too ambitious and would’ve rather gone for a more conservative first project, though he still supports the grant application as a whole. Many cities in the surrounding area, including Santa Barbara County, have declared homeless emergencies, which now allows them to apply for more funding to address the issue.