Lower cost rental units could be created by a Housing Authority agreement with local landlords

Santa Barbara vacancy rate extremely low

By: John Palminteri
Posted: Sep 27, 2018 09:15 AM PDT
Updated: Sep 27, 2018 10:15 AM PDT


SANTA BARBARA, Calif. – The Santa Barbara Housing Authority is looking at existing units and talking to local landlords about joining a program to create more affordable rentals using government funding assistance.

“We have 100 voucher holders out searching for housing now and they can’t find a place to live, a place to go home,” said Santa Barbara Housing Authority Director Rob Fredericks.

Santa Barbara’s housing authority knows the city can’t build its way out of the housing crisis facing moderate and lower income residents. Fredericks said that would take large high rise apartment buildings in several areas to meet the current needs.

It may have part of a solution at a time when the vacancy rate is reported to be at a critical one percent level.

Santa Barbara Housing Authority Director Rob Fredericks said, “If you’re below five percent vacancy rate you are not a healthy community.”

Meeting with landlords, some who already work with government assisted Section 8 housing funds, the Housing Authority is looking for new sites that landlords can free up sooner than anything can be built. “To be willing to open up extra units to voucher holders seeking a place to live,” said Fredericks.

Incentives were pitched for property owners joining the program or getting someone they know in using their existing units. “if you bring on a landlord that is new to the program we will pay you a $100. referral bonus for the successful rental of that property and in addition the landlord will get a $500. dollar bonus because it is a new property.” said Jerry Morales with the Housing Authority.

The pitch was made at the site of a low rent Housing Authority property that answered an important need. The housing came about when a church donated land on upper State Street creating Grace Village. It’s 57 units helping low income seniors and veterans, some that were previously homeless.

Landlords who join Section 8 housing will get 70 percent of the rent from the government on time every month, and the other 30 percent, which is considered an affordable amount, from the qualified tenant.

“We’re also offering landlord guarantees beyond the rent. We are offering security deposit guarantees and damage guarantees,” said Fredericks.

One local teacher and coach says he was helped by the rental assistance and now he’s an owner. “I happy to say that I am the owner of a home and I am living proof that the program does work and so hopefully that is incentive enough for you guys to help a program such as this,” said James Coronado.

For more information contact: www.hacsb.org