Housing Authority Breaks Ground on 89 Units of Affordable Housing for Seniors
Source: Housing Authority of the City of Santa Barbara
With nearly 40 percent of the County’s senior population being economically insecure, Housing Authority of the City of Santa Barbara (HACSB) broke ground July 30 on The Gardens on Hope, a 90-unit development for frail, low-income seniors.
Project partners and community members joined together July 30 at the future site of The Gardens on Hope -- 251 S. Hope Ave. – to celebrate the beginning of construction, expected to last 14 months. HACSB purchased the vacant property in April 2014 with the intention of developing a project similar to the highly successful 98-unit Garden Court on de La Vina Street, which provides senior residents with three meals a day, housekeeping, transportation to medical appointments and a host of social programs.
“We’re only standing here today on a property along a street appropriately called Hope Avenue because of a previous vision held by many in our community to provide housing for one of the most vulnerable populations -- frail, low-income seniors,” said Rob Fredericks, Housing Authority of the City of Santa Barbara CEO.
California is facing a shortage of 1.5 million affordable homes, which is hurting seniors most, said Fredericks. All baby boomers will be over 65 in 11 years, and there are already more than 900 applicants for HACSB’s senior properties.
The Gardens on Hope will consist of 89 studio units and a one-bedroom manager unit. All of the rental units will be subsidized with Project Based Housing Choice Vouchers, making rent affordable at 30 percent of the residents’ income. Construction, which is expected to last 14 months, is possible because of HACSB’s successful application for highly competitive Federal Low-Income Housing Tax Credits (LIHTC). The Women’s Fund of Santa Barbara was an early funder of the project and contributed $100,000 toward the development of The Gardens on Hope.
The site is in close proximity to La Cumbre Plaza and less than half a mile away from all necessary amenities, such as banking, supermarkets, entertainment, shopping and medical services. Building construction will utilize the latest in sustainable practices and materials. Energy efficiency will far exceed California requirements, and the property will generate much of its electricity needs through the installation of photovoltaic solar panels.
The Gardens on Hope development partners include Garden Court, Inc., 2nd Story Associates, Hearthstone Housing Foundation, Santa Barbara Affordable Housing Group (Housing Authority of the City of Santa Barbara), Enterprise Community Investment, Inc., Citi Community Capital, RRM Design Group, Frank Schipper Construction Company, Parsons Family Management, LLC. Additional ongoing supportive services will be provided by the Center for Successful Aging.
HACSB also plans to break ground later this year on Johnson Court, an affordable housing development that will serve the homeless veteran population in Santa Barbara. The proposed project provides 16 studio units for very-low and low-income veterans, a one-bedroom manager unit and more. HACSB’s successful application for $21.3 million in highly competitive Federal Low-Income Housing Tax Credits (LIHTC) make construction of the two developments possible.
The two developments come in addition to the Grace Village Apartments, which opened earlier this year, bringing 58 critically-needed affordable housing units for low-income seniors. HACSB Board of Commissioners Vice Chair Pat Wheatley said Grace Village has already helped housing dreams come true for many residents, and HACSB’s upcoming projects will do the same.
“One of the first residents I met at Grace Village was a woman who told me she had been on a waiting list for low-income housing for eight years and this has been a dream of hers,” said Wheatley. “She hasn’t stopped smiling yet.”