New Senior Housing Opens on Hope Ave

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New Senior Housing Opens on Hope Ave
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Source: Housing Authority of the City of Santa Barbara

As COVID-19 continues to re-shape life in the U.S., one thing for certain is that the record-high increase in unemployment goes hand in hand with a shortage of affordable housing. This is especially hard for senior residents facing homelessness in Santa Barbara, and who live on a reduced income and may rely on part-time work to make ends meet but are in danger of losing their jobs due to lay-offs or closures.

Finding affordable housing that suits their specific needs put them in competition with low income families and individuals who’ve lost jobs and need help with their rent. In a city that is well aware of the urgent need to solve this growing problem, the Housing  Authority  of the City of Santa Barbara (HACSB), in collaboration with Parsons Group, Inc. has opened the “The Gardens on Hope.” This service-enhanced, independent-living senior housing facility, offers 89 critically needed affordable housing units for eligible seniors 62 years and older. The new community opened in April; at this time, a limited number of apartments are still available.

Gardens on Hope from Video Ventura on Vimeo.

The Gardens on Hope is situated on a 1.75-acre lot located at 251 S. Hope Avenue and modeled after the highly successful Garden Court, a 98-unit development by HACSB, located on De La Vina St. All units will be subsidized with Project-Based Section 8 Housing Choice Vouchers, making rent affordable at 30% of residents’ income. 

Gardens on Hope will enable a financially vulnerable population to avoid homelessness with amenities and services that include three delicious and nutritious meals a day, 24-hour reception, housekeeping, transportation, and a creative curriculum of stimulating resident activities. The additional services give residents the opportunity to access resources including free cellphones, transportation and other programs. The facilitydécor is appointed with original artwork donated by area artists as it strives to reflect the Santa Barbara community. On-site service providers will include The Center for Successful Aging providing resident advocacy and adult educational, health and wellness classes, and Montecito Bank and Trust, offering educational classes focusing on financial literacy & avoiding senior scams.

Each spacious studio apartment has an efficiency kitchen, a large bathroom, patios or balconies opening onto beautiful gardens and mountain views.   Residents enjoy gracious community dining with home cooked meals and living spaces, a library and a convenient location near shopping and the YMCA.

According to Rob Fredericks, CEO of HACSB, “Demand for affordable housing for Santa Barbara’s senior population is growing exponentially. The Gardens on Hope will ease the strain on an already taxed rental housing market. This new development is based on our work establishing Garden Court, a senior property which is a proven model—one that provides significant economic and social benefits beyond just affordable housing. “ 

 According to local housing data, within the city proper alone:

  • 1 in every 14 seniors in Santa Barbara live in poverty.
  • Over 1,000 seniors are on our community’s affordable housing waiting lists; 70% of whom have annual incomes below $15,900.
  • The percentage of seniors on these wait lists has grown more quickly over the past 5 years than any other segment of the community’s wait list population.
  • Service-enriched housing for low income, frail seniors benefits our entire community; it reduces demand on emergency service responders, the hospital and related social service agencies.
  • Providing low income, frail seniors with on-site meals, transportation and socialization is morally and fiscally responsible as it avoids early placement in institutions such as skilled nursing paid by Medicare.

To learn more about The Gardens on Hope, watch a video produced by Elsie London,, or contact Charlene Fletcher, Executive Director of The Gardens on Hope at (805) 618-4999. Online applications now being accepted at

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Kew Jul 13, 2020 09:31 AM
New Senior Housing Opens on Hope Ave

Thank you for assisting the low-income and frail members of our Santa Barbara community. This is wonderful! This is humanity!

RHS Jul 13, 2020 10:33 AM
New Senior Housing Opens on Hope Ave

Progress for sure. Actual housing for the bottom end of our economy, not just "affordable housing" for the middle class.

CoastWatch Jul 13, 2020 10:34 AM
New Senior Housing Opens on Hope Ave

More subsidized housing by the SB Housing Authority... Brings the numbers closer to 25% of all housing units in the City of Santa Barbara are subsidized by taxpayers (what little of actual "taxpayers" still exist in the State of CA).

Byzantium Jul 13, 2020 10:52 AM
New Senior Housing Opens on Hope Ave

Seniors already get the bulk of subsidized housing units, as well as benefiting from multiple private charitable senior housing options in this area. Friendship Manor in IV is also dedicated for low income seniors who are on fixed incomes. This area has long been very generous to the low income senior population. It would be interesting to do a comparative study with surrounding communities, as to the numbers of subsidized units, per each served population group. SB must come out way on top for total subsidized units, and into the stratosphere for subsidized senior units. There is no upper limits for their demand, so proceed with caution if one wants some modicum of local economic viability to continue. Time for other communities to step up and meet these same levels, before shoe-horning more subsidized units into this one location. It is no longer sustainable to be the sole south coast provider of subsidized housing units, to the degree Sant Barbara is currently providing.

SBLIFE Jul 13, 2020 11:07 AM
New Senior Housing Opens on Hope Ave

So COASTWATCH, what is your solution for the exploding senior population we are seeing and will continue to see for decades to come? Not only are people living longer, the boomer generation is now coming of senior age.

sacjon Jul 13, 2020 11:09 AM
New Senior Housing Opens on Hope Ave

COASTWATCH - how does this affect you, specifically? Why are always against helping anyone? Explain how you, Coastwatch, are affected directly.

Byzantium Jul 13, 2020 11:20 AM
New Senior Housing Opens on Hope Ave

The solution is more education about financial planning for seniors and preparing for their years when facing income limitations - don't pick an expensive area that you can not afford is number one; plan ahead for your senior years - plenty of online calculators to project your future needs versus your available resources; getting on the waiting list for the senior subsidized housing is number three, but only if you have a Plan B in case you do not get a subsidized unit. Society has not yet decided to give Santa Barbara housing to everyone who demands it. This current certainty allows for better future planning - that is the education part of the equation. If we can mandate masks for protection; we can mandate every senior provides a financial plan for their own future needs and counsel options that better match needs and resources. But handing out subsidized senior housing based upon demand only, is simply not going to happen. Know this up front and start exploring lower cost areas where to retire. This has always been the case historically. Anything else demands relying on a lucky windfall - which is wishful thinking; not prudent planning. That is what retiring baby boomers need to do. Stat.

RHS Jul 13, 2020 11:48 AM
New Senior Housing Opens on Hope Ave

Coastwatch: ALL housing not purchased for cash is subsidized. People write off their mortgage interest and thus pay less money than they should. There is no clear reason why this should be deductible when things like student loan debt interest or personal car loan interest are not. Worse, investors write o ff (depreciate) huge portions of their properties values which lowers the already low capital gains they might pay at a real sale. You just object to poor people getting a hand up it seems.

Byzantium Jul 13, 2020 11:04 AM
New Senior Housing Opens on Hope Ave

For Santa Barbara property tax revenues to support taking more subsidized housing units off the property tax roles, it will require multiple and rapid sales of $2 million plus homes to recharge the property tax base. Or eliminating the current Prop 13 property tax protections, which will be on the November ballot. If this passes, and one can assume it will, it will cause huge numbers of evictions in order to allow the necessary rent increases to cover the new commercial property tax increases, no longer protected under Prop 13. Property tax reform needs to also eliminate the parent-child transfer property tax increase exemption, as well as the ever-growing list of other property tax rate increase exemptions. For every residential unit taken off the property tax rolls as public benefit or charitable housing, there must be a doubling of tax revenues generated by other remaining properties.. Let's hope our city leaders offer better modeling to see how this all plays out. What will the private average home need to sell for to make up for subsidized housing property tax losses? How much will rents need to be raised to cover the loss of Prop 13 tax protections on commercial property? Or, how much will public services and benefits need to be cut to make up for declining property tax revenues as more subsidized units continue to be taken off the private property tax rolls.

a-1594724418 Jul 14, 2020 04:00 AM
New Senior Housing Opens on Hope Ave

Byzantium - you got lots of questions - get back to us when you have a few answers- most importantly, what exactly is the ratio of subsidized to total units? Meanwhile, further on the “anecdotal” front, a good friend in real estate says there are all kinds of rich people up from L.A. with cash in hand, ready to buy their $2Million plus “bolt holes” to ride out the pandemic.....

LCP112233 Jul 13, 2020 12:07 PM
New Senior Housing Opens on Hope Ave

A few more years and I can take advantage of these types of housing units. I will jump at the chance if by then I would qualify.

PitMix Jul 13, 2020 12:12 PM
New Senior Housing Opens on Hope Ave

Someone I know just needed housing, not assisted living, but if she had refused this placement she would have dropped to the bottom of the housing list and had to wait years for another chance. So she is living there now. Hopefully there isn't anyone in critical need of assisted living that can't get into the Hope Facility. If they opened it up to able individuals, then probably not.

a-1594668708 Jul 13, 2020 12:31 PM
New Senior Housing Opens on Hope Ave

So, are the people serviced by this subsidized housing locals? Are they coming from say Fresno or Pittsburgh because they think that it's a nicer place to retire, particularly at someone else's expense?

Kew Jul 13, 2020 03:12 PM
New Senior Housing Opens on Hope Ave

Many of these individuals have worked here in Santa Barbara their whole lives. Should we simply wish them out into the cornfield as they age? Not everyone earns a 6-figure income in Santa Barbara. There is enough here for everyone. Show some compassion. And do prepare for the Silver Tsunami. It's coming to a town near you!

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