With the news that Willow Springs’ affordable housing program will expire next August, residents insist they were never told there was a possibility that it would end.
The 47 families in the upper-moderate affordable units in the Willow Springs Apartments recently received letters from The Towbes Group.
Residents said news that their rent would go up — and many most likely will have to move — has caused a lot of stress.
“When we were accepted, my husband and I were ecstatic,” resident Amy Clark said at Tuesday’s Goleta City Council meeting. “As two UCSB alums, this program would allow us to stay in the town we love and raise our children.”
“Upon entering this program, I was never told there was the possibility this program may come to a close, Mr. Zimmerman,” she said, addressing Towbes Group President Craig Zimmerman.
Her family wasn’t informed when they moved in, in 2010, or when they moved from a two-bedroom to a three-bedroom apartment.
Families had to reapply every three years to show they earned less than $87,500 per household, and these families compose the Goleta area’s middle class, Clark said.
Zimmerman said the company will work with residents to “ease this transition.”
The Towbes Group is offering short-term extensions and allowing people to stay there with reduced rent — though it’s still more than they currently pay for apartments. Zimmerman added that residents can terminate their leases early if they find a new place to move.
There was talk of extending the affordable program’s expiration from 2013 to 2016 as part of the proposed development agreement for Willow Springs 2, but the housing complex is moving forward without that agreement.
“Anything that can be done in the name of all these families would be appreciated,” said resident Aurora Hernandez, who lives in the apartments with her daughters and worries about her family being displaced next summer, which was disturbing news.
At normal market rates, a two-bedroom/two-bath apartment in Willow Springs is listed at $2,230 to $2,315 in rent per month, and three-bedroom apartments cost $2,410 to $2,495.