Housing Authority Breaks Ground on 89 Units of Affordable Housing for Seniors

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Housing Authority Breaks Ground on 89 Units of Affordable Housing for Seniors
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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.”

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RHS Aug 08, 2018 08:30 AM
Housing Authority Breaks Ground on 89 Units of Affordable Housing for Seniors

It is nice. Particularly as reported in the news today, seniors are filing for bankruptcy at a record rate. Clearly the 'gig' economy is leaving them screwed and the folks coming up will be even worse off. But it is also true that it is a lot more politically saleable to offer housing to seniors than to provide housing for otherwise stressed and denied economic classes--such as the workers who serve in restaurants, care for the ill, sell in stores, repair our residences and cars, etc. So we drive them into long commutes or sad alternatives like living in RVs.

Factotum Aug 07, 2018 09:09 AM
Housing Authority Breaks Ground on 89 Units of Affordable Housing for Seniors

Time for an audit of the actual numbers of subsidize housing now available in this community. Public needs to know exactly what it is already offering and we need to discuss what is an optimal number that supports the economic health of this community at large. Just telling us piece meal we are adding more units every year does not tell the real overall picture of the roll subsidized housing already plays in this town. A county audit a number of years ago found 20% of the subsidized units were getting sub-let for market prices. Or those obtaining subsidized housing had incomes that no longer qualified them for this public benefit. Lots of missing information here. Public needs to know and have this independently corroborated.

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