Pixel Tracker

Friday, January 18 , 2019, 4:26 am | Fair 55º


County Housing Authority Puts Tenants On Notice

Residents are concerned after the agency sends letters about its plans to transfer ownership of three Goleta developments

The Housing Authority of the County of Santa Barbara has issued letters to occupants of 54 of its public housing units in Goleta, raising concerns from the tenants that they might be homeless.

The tenants hope to meet Housing Authority officials on Monday, when the agency has scheduled informational sessions on the changes.

“We wish to inform you that the Housing Authority of the County of Santa Barbara (HACSB) is currently in the process of obtaining approval from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to transfer ownership of three Goleta public housing developments (54 residential units) to an affiliate, Surf Development Company, including the apartment you currently occupy,” said the letter from the Housing Authority sent to tenants. “This notice is to inform you of your rights under Federal Law.”

Technically, the transfer is a sale of the housing, said John Polanskey, director of housing development at HACSB, but it’s a sale of the units to its affiliate nonprofit. The 54 units, located in Goleta’s Old Town and on Ellwood Beach Drive in western Goleta would still remain affordable, he said.

“We hope to make the transition seamless,” said Polanskey, adding that ideally, the tenants would experience no changes to their current living situations as ownership changes from the organization’s public housing to its private Section 8 housing arm. “But because it’s officially a disposition, we had to send letters to the tenants,” he said.

Despite the HACSB’s assurances, tenants are on edge. Several are elderly and have voiced concerns that they would have nowhere to go if for some reason they didn’t qualify for the program.

Part of the reason for the move is to ensure continued funding for the housing projects.

“We’ve been running about 22 percent short in the funding over the last eight to nine years, because of appropriations,” said Polanskey. Moving toward Section 8 would change the funding scheme, but would also make the funds for the housing less vulnerable to appropriations, he said, adding that the Section 8 housing program has received a better cut of funds over the years than public housing.

Other counties, such as San Diego, have converted fully to Section 8 from public housing, Polanskey said, and the idea is being looked into by many jurisdictions, including the city of Santa Barbara, he said.

Polanskey can’t make any guarantees that the current residents’ living situations will remain stable.

“I can’t say that absolutely none of the tenants will be affected. They are different programs and although the rules are very similar, we will need to interview each tenant.” HACSB will try to assist any of its tenants who may experience difficulties qualifying for the Section 8 programs, said Polanskey. Each tenant would still get the Section 8 housing voucher and the organization would try to help them find housing elsewhere, if necessary, he said.

HACSB plans two meeting with the tenants on Monday at the Goleta Valley Community Center, 5679 Hollister Ave. The meetings will be at 2 p.m. and 6 p.m.

Noozhawk staff writer Sonia Fernandez can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made using a credit card, Apple Pay or Google Pay, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments and a mailing address for checks.

Thank you for your vital support.

Become a Noozhawk Supporter

First name
Last name
Select your monthly membership
Or choose an annual membership

Payment Information

Membership Subscription

You are enrolling in . Thank you for joining the Hawks Club.

Payment Method

Pay by Credit Card:

Mastercard, Visa, American Express, Discover
One click only, please!

Pay with Apple Pay or Google Pay:

Noozhawk partners with Stripe to provide secure invoicing and payments processing.
You may cancel your membership at any time by sending an email to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

  • Ask
  • Vote
  • Investigate
  • Answer

Noozhawk Asks: What’s Your Question?

Welcome to Noozhawk Asks, a new feature in which you ask the questions, you help decide what Noozhawk investigates, and you work with us to find the answers.

Here’s how it works: You share your questions with us in the nearby box. In some cases, we may work with you to find the answers. In others, we may ask you to vote on your top choices to help us narrow the scope. And we’ll be regularly asking you for your feedback on a specific issue or topic.

We also expect to work together with the reader who asked the winning questions to find the answer together. Noozhawk’s objective is to come at questions from a place of curiosity and openness, and we believe a transparent collaboration is the key to achieve it.

The results of our investigation will be published here in this Noozhawk Asks section. Once or twice a month, we plan to do a review of what was asked and answered.

Thanks for asking!

Click Here to Get Started >

Reader Comments

Noozhawk is no longer accepting reader comments on our articles. Click here for the announcement. Readers are instead invited to submit letters to the editor by emailing them to [email protected]. Please provide your full name and community, as well as contact information for verification purposes only.