Due to a negative valuation of the property that houses a Lompoc homeless shelter, the city has agreed to sell the property for just $1 to Good Samaritan Shelter Inc.

The sale will transfer ownership of the Marks House and Walnut House properties, located at 203 North N Street, to Good Samaritan, which already operates the transitional housing shelter. The move was unanimously approved by the Lompoc City Council at its June 2 meeting.

Before the sale can become complete, it will need the approval of the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors. Despite that remaining hurdle, Sylvia Barnard, the executive director of Good Samaritan Shelter, said she is thrilled to have the process started.

“It was a huge step for the city to agree to this,” she said, noting the sale had been in the planning stages for about a year.

Christie Alarcon, a community development program manager with the city, cited fiscal benefits in a report from city staff recommending the sale.

There are several improvements that need to be made to the 113-year-old property to bring it into compliance with health and safety codes. An estimate obtained by Good Samaritan priced the upgrades at $202,855.

If those improvements were to be performed by the city, according to the report, that price would jump to $253,570 with wages factored in. Appraisals performed late last year valued the property at $225,000, meaning that the net cost to the city, if it performed the $253,570 in upgrades, would be minus $28,570.

Included in the sale is a regulatory agreement to maintain Marks House as a transitional shelter for a 30-year term, which would allow Good Samaritan to use the city’s remaining Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds of $28,500 to assist in completing the renovations.

Barnard said the operation of the shelter will remain the same, but taking ownership of the property will allow Good Samaritan to raise the money it needs to perform the necessary upgrades.

“It will just be easier for us to raise funds for the rehabilitation of the (facility),” she said. “As a nonprofit, we can bring in private funds and community funds and get grants. There’s about $65,000 that needs to be put into the Walnut House to make it habitable and then another $60,000 to bring it up to code.”

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The Marks House, which is listed on the Lompoc Historic Landmark Registry, operates as a second-stage transitional housing shelter. Its purpose is to facilitate the movement of families experiencing homelessness from the shelter and into permanent housing within 24 months.

The facility has 19 beds and has operated as a family transitional shelter since it was acquired by the Lompoc Housing and Community Development Corporation in 1997.

Good Samaritan has run the shelter since it was briefly closed in 2012, which prompted the city to take ownership of the property for free.

“We’re excited,” Barnard said. “We’ll be able to remodel Walnut House, which will allow a homeless family to stay there that otherwise wouldn’t have any place to stay, so we’re really excited about that.”

Willis Jacobson covers the city of Lompoc for Lee Central Coast Newspapers. Follow him on Twitter @WJacobsonLR.

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