Santa Barbara City Council approves $1.5 million loan to Housing Authority project
An apartment complex for “extremely low income” and “very low income” tenants — focused on the formerly homeless — is on track to begin construction at the end of December after Tuesday’s Santa Barbara City Council and Finance Committee meetings.
The development, Vera Cruz Village, is being built by the Housing Authority of the City of Santa Barbara.
The Housing Authority asked the City Council for more than $1.5 million to cover unforeseen construction costs. The money will be repaid over 30 years.
The Finance Committee approved the expense during its meeting, and the full City Council agreed in its consent agenda.
It is unusual for the City Council to vote on an item the same day as a committee, but this agenda item was expedited to meet the scheduled construction date.
There were few questions from the Finance Committee — apart from Chair Eric Friedman ensuring the money wasn’t coming from the general fund. The city’s affordable housing fund is separate, Laura Dubbels, housing and human services manager, assured.
“As we know it is very difficult to find these types of projects, and so they go a long way towards diversifying our community and those who live here as well as helping us achieve our affordable housing needs numbers that we have in the City of Santa Barbara,” Mr. Friedman said.
The City Council is currently working to find permanent housing options for participants of the safe shelter program, which is currently housing formerly homeless people in the Rose Garden Inn. The Housing Authority’s executive director and CEO Rob Fredericks suggested the additional funding for Vera Cruz Village during the Oct. 19 City Council meeting when the safe shelter program was extended.
“It’s incredibly important that we seize on opportunities to get housing now for people who need it. So I am just really very proud of the work that’s gone into this. I’m very appreciative. Also, that everyone moves so quickly to make this happen,” Councilmember Meagan Harmon said during the Finance Committee meeting.
The complex will have 28 studio apartments and one one-bedroom manager apartment.
Low income housing tax credits, a conventional loan and a 30-year loan of $2 million from the City funded the project’s initial estimates.