Grant to Focus on Housing Stability in South County during the Pandemic
A new non-profit, Future Housing Communities (FHC), was born in the summer of 2019 as a response to our housing crisis and the need for more sustainable and supportive neighborhoods. Because of the increased threats to our local economy and health of residents caused by Covid-19, it is more urgent than ever to explore how to improve housing stability for South County residents.
The Fund for Santa Barbara has given FHC an emerging needs grant to address the following issues:
Updated housing and tenant information for each geographic area is needed.
It is difficult to keep up with housing assistance plans and tenant protection policies which vary depending on where you live. For example, in April there were 3 different deadlines for tenants to inform landlords they would be late with rent to avoid eviction (in Cities of Goleta, Santa Barbara and unincorporated County). The lack of clarity about the virus trajectory and the future of state and local budgets may lead to more changes in policies. FHC will establish an online ‘SB Housing Hub’ to help residents keep track of the latest information.
Communication channels can be improved to reach more residents.
Once helpful information is obtained, the next task is to determine how to reach all parts of the community. Residents with different ages, languages, disabilities, incomes, renter/owner status, tech/computer literacy as well as geographic jurisdiction may use different media to get local news. We are forming diverse teams from each neighborhood to help survey residents and determine the best way to communicate with each South County resident. The results will be shared with agencies and organizations that serve different populations.
Resident input is important during Covid-19 to identify priorities.
Getting feedback from residents is just as important as getting information to them and will help assess changing needs and priorities. The South County was losing diversity and younger age groups before Covid-19, so a focused effort is needed to stop that trend. Grant project teams will assist in identifying the housing status of our residents as the virus, jobs and stimulus checks come and go. Those results will be shared with everyone to encourage greater community understanding and an ‘all hands on deck’ response.
The pandemic threatens to make nationwide inequities and housing instability even more pronounced. But we are also experiencing a societal shift in community awareness and have an opportunity to come out of the disaster better than before. The SB Housing Hub planning group invites interested renters and homeowners from each neighborhood to join a team and work together on this effort. For more information email FutureHousingSB@gmail.com. If you are interested in community service hours, internship or a stipend you should request an application by July 22.
About the Fund for Santa Barbara: The Fund for Santa Barbara is a 501c3 nonprofit community foundation dedicated to addressing the root causes of social, economic, environmental and political challenges in Santa Barbara County. The FUND raises money through donations of all sizes in order to provide grants and technical assistance to local grassroots efforts. The FUND supports community- based projects working for "Change, Not Charity" through a variety of strategies.
About SB Housing Hub and Future Housing Communities: Future Housing Communities was formed to improve housing stability and supportive neighborhoods in South Santa Barbara County. The SB Housing Hub is a project of FHC to provide housing and tenant information and communications help during the backdrop of the housing crisis and Covid-19. For more information, email FutureHousingSB@gmail.com or visit www.neighbormatch.org. The Facebook page ‘SB Housing Hub’ will be launched by the end of July.