Oct 29, 2013 7:06 PM by April Hansen, KSBY

New permanent housing opens for homeless families in Santa Maria

A new permanent housing facility opened Tuesday in Santa Maria for some homeless families.

Casa de Familia is a 16-unit apartment complex on the Good Samaritan shelter's campus.

A single mom with her young children will move into her apartment on Friday. She says she's been working with the shelter for two years and this next step gives her hope that she can make it on her own. Monique Ramos says she started using drugs when she was just 12-years old.

"Since the age of 21, I've been in and out of trouble," said Ramos.

She came to the Good Samaritan Shelter because she had nowhere to go.

"One of their programs is where I went to rehab and since then I've been involved with them and have been clean for about a year and a half," said Ramos.

In a few days she will have her own place to call home.

"I've waited a long time for it and I've worked really hard to get here, so I'm really happy and know my hard work has paid off," said Ramos.

Casa de Familia has been a vision for the past 10 years and organizers say it's one of a kind on the Central Coast.

"Having everything at one location is rare," said Good Samaritan Executive Director Sylvia Barnard.

She says families live independently, but can still use the services offered by the shelter.

"So they already have a mental health case worker on site. They already have a public health clinic and doctor on site. They already have an after school program for their kids on site," said Barnard.

She says this new space will give people hope.

"This really gives them an opportunity to be able to know that their future is their own," said Barnard.

Ramos says it's a fresh start for her family.

"There's hope. For a long time I didn't think anything good was coming my way and I just had to keep the faith and got this," said Ramos.

Barnard says the families can stay as long as they need to.
People who live there will pay 30 percent of their income in rent.

The $3 million project was funded through grants from the city of Santa Maria and Santa Barbara County



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