Housing Authority Buys Garden Court on De La Vina

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Housing Authority Buys Garden Court on De La Vina
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Source: Housing Authority of the City of Santa Barbara

The Housing Authority of the City of Santa Barbara (HACSB) is pleased to announce its purchase of Garden Court on De La Vina, preserving the affordability of 97 studio units for low-income seniors in Santa Barbara.

Located a few blocks from Santa Barbara’s downtown corridor at 1116 De La Vina, Garden Court opened in 2000, in response to a desperate need for very low-income housing for frail seniors in Santa Barbara.

“Housing Authority of the City of the Santa Barbara has been part of Garden Court on De La Vina since its inception, and this purchase guarantees it will continue to be used as originally intended,” said Rob Fredericks, HACSB CEO. “Housing Authority is proud to extend its own resources to protect the property from any future conversion to market rate housing, while protecting existing residents.”

Garden Court was the first of its kind on the South Coast, providing service-enhanced independent living for frail, low-income seniors, including three meals a day, housekeeping, transportation as well as a host of social programs. The Housing Authority of the City of Santa Barbara played a major role in its original design, planning and funding.

In the late ‘90s, HACSB’s Board of Commissioners in partnership with the City of Santa Barbara, local architects and developers created the development plan for what would become Garden Court. This development, which was funded through the Federal Low-Income Housing Tax Credit program and the former Redevelopment Agency of the City of Santa Barbara, is a testament to how a partnership between private and public entities can be forged to effectively solve a community need.

Since the development of the property in 2000, the HACSB has master leased the Garden Court property from the owner, a tax credit partnership, and sub-contracted the property management responsibilities to The Parsons Group, Inc., a firm with expertise in managing the day-to-day operations of congregate care of frail seniors.

Many of Garden Court’s 97 seniors, 62 years of age or older, are long-time Santa Barbara-area residents who worked all their lives serving the local community as laborers, nurses, business owners and teachers. However, they lack sufficient retirement income to afford private market housing. 

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Flicka Jun 28, 2018 02:15 PM
Housing Authority Buys Garden Court on De La Vina

Good gravy, I can't believe the anger at providing seniors with a place to live. Sounds like some want all low income housing abolished. So, only the rich/well paid can live here? Will they be the workers doing gardening, waiting on restaurant tables, caring for children and senior family members of other rich residents, basically worker bees?

Factotum Jun 28, 2018 02:33 PM
Housing Authority Buys Garden Court on De La Vina

I can't believe you are calling requests for good civic planning and fiscal responsibility "acts of anger." How many of the total housing units in this town do you think should be devote to subsidized senior housing? Give us a number or percentage.

Emmenanthe Jun 28, 2018 10:59 AM
Housing Authority Buys Garden Court on De La Vina

Sounds as though the people entitled to live in this type of subsidized housing should prove they have earned the right to local charity by having worked here (and paid taxes) for at least 10 years.

RHS Jun 28, 2018 08:40 AM
Housing Authority Buys Garden Court on De La Vina

Legitimate points to be made here: 1. This action merely protects existing senior housing. 2. There is probably too large a share of available money going into senior housing but this is because 'senior housing' is so much more acceptable to the public than other types such as housing for the mentally handicapped, socially dysfuntional, disabled and just poverty stricken 3. This housing was demanded to replace a hotel that actually did provide housing for those listed above. That housing was thus taken from them and given to seniors 4. Many seniors in these subsidized housing were brought here by family and somehow given access to these facilities ahead of people who were trying to survive locally. There is a whiff of favoritism in the management of these places. 5. Senior housing is favored because "seniors" are less threatening to the burghers than more difficult populations such as the homeless and RV dwellers. Facts of life in our town.

Baseball guy Jun 28, 2018 08:19 AM
Housing Authority Buys Garden Court on De La Vina

Factotum and Pit - Such angry people. You really have it wrong. There is NOT an abundance of low cost SR housing in our area. Witness the recent completion of the low income, SR Grace Village Apartments on upper State St at the entrance to La Cumbre Plaza. 58-1BR units which had 650 applicants!! Sounds like that might be a shortage. Check around, low income properties have an average time waiting list of two years. Yes, two years! The people who qualify for these units are NOT well-off pensioners. Since 1-BR pats in this town go for $2,000+ they would be on the street if not for these type of properties. They cannot have more income than 50% of the area median. And for Section 8, no more than $28,120/yr. BTW the tax credits went to the original developer, not the Housing Authority. Oh yes, buy them a condo and see if they can pay the HOA fees and property taxes.

Factotum Jun 28, 2018 08:59 AM
Housing Authority Buys Garden Court on De La Vina

When the city chooses to take "free money" from HUD or any other government agency, they have to give up local autonomy in planning decisions to federal mandates to provide subsidized services and housing. Hence the rapid proliferation of low-income senior housing starting back with the massive Presidio Springs senior housing project in the lower Eastside. Every government application for more money came with more demand to meet their rules. Consequently the city put large numbers of low-income housing units all around the downtown commercial core, ultimately destroying its retail vitality. They are now expanding this same misbegotten formula to other commercially viable areas that still remain in this town - new low come housing (those with no discretionary spending) are starting to ring the La Cumbre Plaza Upper State Street shopping area. What the city now intended to do with the hollowed out core of the once vibrant downtown commercial district remains to be seen. The shift of vagrants into these still remaining viable commercial districts is already happening after their source of daily cash dried up downtown.

PitMix Jun 28, 2018 08:46 AM
Housing Authority Buys Garden Court on De La Vina

Not angry, I just think the City should be more forthcoming about the cost of these projects once the tax subsidies and now the cost of purchasing the units is factored in. And the fact that a few people get to live the good life in subsidized housing while many more are struggling to get by. Is it the function of government to set up a system that benefits a few? Or should they be developing policies that benefit the majority? It appears that the majority of you approve of the current system, and since the majority rules, at least locally, then so be it.

Factotum Jun 28, 2018 08:30 AM
Housing Authority Buys Garden Court on De La Vina

You cannot build yourself out of unlimited demand. No one is forced to live in Santa Barbara, but plenty not only want to, they also demand we subsidize them for this privilege. This town's housing inventory are entirely over-skewed in favor subsidized senior housing.

Factotum Jun 27, 2018 04:41 PM
Housing Authority Buys Garden Court on De La Vina

Notice the editorializing city staff does when presenting their media pieces. Well paid and well pensioned "nurses and teachers" are now among what they claim are the "frail elderly" which our tax dollars need to additionally subsidize with low-cost housing as well as their prior generous compensation packages and pensions. Plus they admit the subsidized Garden Court serves those who have not even lived here. It never ends when public agencies have their hands out protecting their own turf, and not tax payer sensibilities. There is already a huge amount of both public and private senior housing in this area. And as pointed out, there is turnover built into of this existing stock. Enough already and time for an Economic Impact Statement auditing the total public benefit SBHA provides when compared to the number of housing units it takes out of market circulation and off the property tax rolls.

Factotum Jun 27, 2018 06:07 PM
Housing Authority Buys Garden Court on De La Vina

Can anyone tell me why people continue to choose to come to premium real estate areas demand housing they can't afford with their limited skill set? Add up maintenance, reserves, insurance and utilities and you do have $350 a month in extra housing costs on tope of mortgage costs if you want to live here. Remember this every time you pass another bond issue - goes right on the top of your housing costs. City depends on higher and higher property taxes to pay their own bills. Where do people think city funding actually comes from - people who can afford to live and shop here. And not ask to get subsidized.

420722 Jun 27, 2018 03:18 PM
Housing Authority Buys Garden Court on De La Vina

This is great. Better than it being turned into “luxury” (but really just cheaply made boxes) condos for a price tag that most of the working class of SB can’t afford anyway. Hurray for the seniors :)

Factotum Jun 28, 2018 09:04 AM
Housing Authority Buys Garden Court on De La Vina

Since the city depends on ever increasing property tax revenues to meet its ever expanding budget demands, you will need more luxury housing for both the property taxes and its more affluent residents who have discretionary money to spend in town. You cannot run this city's current budget catering only to low-income and subsidized residents who have no money to spend supporting the retail tax base. Something has to change. Many houses in the former 'luxury" R-1 residential districts now have for sale signs on them after ADU's took away their R-1 neighborhood status. Pay attention to what happens to these tax-base supporting "luxury" properties.

ktnoodle1 Jun 27, 2018 01:33 PM
Housing Authority Buys Garden Court on De La Vina

Pit, I'm confuses by your displeasure. Are you mad that a company that could afford to do so, is maintaining the services available by purchasing the property? It's not like they are going to go buy each resident their individual house. That's not how rental property ownership works... And now, this service will remain available. The people living there will not be living there forever, and when they move on in life another person who needs that spot will get it.

PitMix Jun 28, 2018 11:19 AM
Housing Authority Buys Garden Court on De La Vina

It's not a company, it's a city agency. I guess it would be one thing if a corporation would buy it, but they never would, because it is not a profit making venture. It is an endeavor to help a few seniors with our tax dollars, while many more seniors cannot get help.

Factotum Jun 27, 2018 01:15 PM
Housing Authority Buys Garden Court on De La Vina

Garden Court was required to be built by the city as part of the sale and development plan for the old Hotel Carrillo. The sales agreement required this senior housing must be replaced before the developer could built a market rate hotel in its place, currently the site of the Hotel Canary. Senior housing makes up the largest percentage of subsidized public housing in this city. Subsidized housing in various forms now makes up close to 25% of all city housing stock. The city has set no upper limits converting private housing and replacing it with subsidized public housing. Assume current city council majorities won't quit until 100% of all city housing units are fully subsidized by either taxpayers or developers and under direct city control.

PitMix Jun 27, 2018 11:42 AM
Housing Authority Buys Garden Court on De La Vina

They neglected to say what the purchase price was. I bet the total cost of this development, after you factor in all of the tax credits, construction, operation, and current price, is enough to buy each senior a nice condo somewhere in SB. That's the way we roll now. 97 winners and a bunch of losers who are just barely making it.

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