Housing Authority breaks ground on 90 units of affordable housing for seniors

gardens on hope
The Gardens on Hope is first of two developments beginning construction in 2018 after the Housing Authority secured $21.3 million in tax-credit financing.

Staff Report

With nearly 40 percent of the county’s senior population economically insecure, the Housing Authority of the city of Santa Barbara broke ground 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. Completion of the project will take 14 months. The Housing Authority purchased the vacant property in April 2014 with the intention of developing a project similar to the 98-unit Garden Court on De la Vina Street. It provides senior residents with three meals a day, housekeeping, transportation to medical appointments and 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, CEO of the Housing Authority of the city of Santa Barbara.

California faces a shortage of 1.5 million affordable homes, which affects seniors the most, said Fredericks. In 11 years, all baby boomers will be 65 and older. The Housing Authority has a waiting list of 900 applicants for its 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 use of 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 close to La Cumbre Plaza, banks, supermarkets, theaters, shops and medical services. The latest in sustainable practices and materials will be used during construction of the project. Energy efficiency will 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, 2nd Story Associates, Hearthstone Housing Foundation, Santa Barbara Affordable Housing Group (Housing Authority of the city of Santa Barbara), Enterprise Community Investment, Citi Community Capital, RRM Design Group, Frank Schipper Construction Co., and Parsons Family Management. The Center for Successful Aging will provide ongoing supportive services.

The Housing Authority also plans to break ground later this year on Johnson Court, an affordable housing development that will serve homeless veterans in Santa Barbara. The proposed project will provide 16 studio units for very-low and low-income veterans, a one-bedroom manager unit and more. The Housing Authority will use $21.3 million in federal Low-Income Housing Tax Credits (LIHTC) to make the two developments possible.

The two developments are in addition to Grace Village Apartments, which opened earlier this year. Grace Village features 58 affordable housing units for low-income seniors.

A public agency, the Housing Authority of the city of Santa Barbara provides safe and affordable housing and supportive services to eligible persons with limited incomes, through federal, state, local and private resources. Since 1969, the Housing Authority has developed and/or secured over 3,600 units (about 1,200 owned or managed and 2,400 of Section 8 subsidy) of affordable rental housing for Santa Barbara through federal, state, local and private funding.

For more information, go to hacsb.org.

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