Good Samaritan Shelter is the largest provider of shelter and services to the homeless and those in recovery along the Central Coast of California. Good Samaritan Shelter offers a wide range of services to meet the needs of the community, including emergency shelter for adults and families, family shelter, permanent housing with supportive services, social model residential detoxification, outpatient drug and alcohol treatment, mental health services, children’s after school programming, clean and sober living homes, supporting services for Veteran families, and more.
The Santa Barbara County Energy Watch Partnership approached the Good Samaritan Shelter to provide a substantial energy upgrade. By changing the lighting in the facilities to LED’s, the shelter could save significant monthly energy costs. However, because of the amount of work that was necessary, even with all of the installation and material discounts provided by PG&E and Staples Energy, the co-pay amount that would be required for them to pay would be significant for the organization.
Stepping up to close this gap, the Santa Maria Valley Chamber of Commerce, which administers the Energy Watch Partnership on behalf of PG&E and So Cal Gas, worked with the utility companies to provide a grant to pay most of the co-
pay amount. An anonymous donor paid for the remainder, and the Good Samaritan Shelter was provided a complete lighting upgrade at no cost whatsoever to the organization. Staples Energy, which is the official installation company for the Direct Install program, went to work, replacing fixtures and converting the lighting to LED’s. The installation effort covered more than four buildings, including a dining hall, apartments, family shelter facilities, and a detox center. Over 400 fixtures were replaced and upgraded to LED lighting. “Staples Energy was amazing to work with”, according to Kirsten Cahoon, Director of Shelter Operations. “Their crew was fast, efficient and worked around the obstacles at our facility.”
Jack Boysen, Special Projects Director, and a member of the Santa Maria City Council, described the installation work as “bees around a bee hive, fast and efficient”. Later at a City Council meeting, Councilman Boysen expressed appreciation to the Energy Watch Partnership and the Chamber of Commerce on behalf of the organization, noting that the savings are substantial and will go toward programming.
Altogether, Good Samaritan Shelter received work valued at over $31,000 for the project. The annual energy saved will be 127,230 kWh annually, which is enough to power over 11 average homes for a year. The cost savings is significant. Over $1,690 per month and over $20,000 annually will be saved off of their energy bill. That is money that can be returned toessential programming.
In appreciation for the project, the Good Samaritan Shelter hosted a lunch reception for the Santa Barbara County Energy Watch Partnership. It was an opportunity of members of the shelter’s staff and Board of Directors to meet representatives from PG&E, So Cal Gas, Staples Energy and the Chamber of Commerce. They also provided a tour of the facilities.
To say that Good Samaritan Shelter plays a significant role for the community is an understatement. They feed over 150 people on average each day. They provide a safe place to stay for families that cannot find housing. They assist Veterans. They have mental health and detox programs and facilities. So, when assessing Good Samaritan Shelter’s value to the community, the real question is: where would the community be without them?
“This project really represents what the Energy Watch Partnership is all about,” said Lucas Patzek, PG&E Senior Program Manager for Government and Community Partnerships. “We will continue to work with the Good Samaritan Shelter to find even more ways to save on energy and energy costs.”
Paulo Morais, Energy Programs Supervisor for So Cal Gas, was also impressed by the work of the shelter in Santa Maria. “We want to provide every possible opportunity to assist Good Samaritan Shelter, because by doing that we are also helping the community”, he added.
The Santa Maria Valley Chamber of Commerce spearheaded the collaboration between the Santa Barbara County Energy Watch partnership and the Good Samaritan Shelter.
“We are very pleased that we could provide the resources of the Partnership to make this happen. We want to support the community every chance we get, and this project is a great example of the way we can bring people and resources together in a very successful way,” said Glenn Morris, President and CEO of the Santa Maria Valley Chamber of Commerce.
Since 2010, the Santa Barbara County Energy Watch Partnership have assisted over 450 businesses in north Santa Barbara County to become more energy efficient. The Partnership has also provided upgrades to north Santa Barbara County municipalities with over 122 municipal projects.