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Major Renovation Underway for Santa Barbara Rescue Mission

The $10-million remodel is the first in the facility's history and will help expand capacity and upgrade the shelter building.

The renovation project under construction at the Santa Barbara Rescue Mission will expand capacity so the shelter can serve more people starting next year. In the two-year project that started September 2017, the site is going through a 40,000-square-foot remodel including upgrading the kitchen and building new beds, and gender-specific bathroom and shower facilities for 125 guests a night. After the upgrades, the shelter will be able to accommodate 32 women, up from 18 currently. The facility is also getting seismic reinforcement and replacement work on the building's plumbing and electrical systems.

The Rescue Mission provides tens of thousands of meals and shelter nights each year, for people in the 12-month residential recovery program. It has stayed open and continued providing programs during the construction. It has been open since the 1980's at 535 E. Yanonali St., but the facility has never been renovated in all of its years of operation, said Rolf Geyling, president of the Rescue Mission. “The new spaces are taking shape,” he said of the renovation project. “When we have a facility that serves our clients adequately, people will be amazed.” The renovation cost is anticipated at about $10 million, Geyling said, and project completion is slated for the spring of 2019.

“If somebody is on the street right now or if the police come across someone at 2 a.m., this is the place where they need to start, and we need to make sure that initial lifeline is in the community,” he said. The Rescue Mission is funded by donations from by individuals, churches, foundations and area businesses, and gifts of food, clothing and equipment. “We are grateful for the donors who value this,” Geyling said. “This (project) is making sure that we have this facility for 40 to 50 years in the community.”

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