After two years of planning and a year of construction, eight formerly homeless families in Santa Barbara have a roof over their heads at Mom’s, Transition House’s new affordable housing complex at 421 E. Cota St.
An expanded licensed infant-care center serving both homeless families and low-income members of the community is also up and running in the complex.
A celebration of Mom’s will be held at 4 p.m. Wednesday. Tours and light refreshments will be provided.
The eight units created by Mom’s have increased Transition House’s capacity to provide affordable supportive housing to homeless families in Santa Barbara, some of whom may have special needs. The units include six two-bedroom and two three-bedroom apartments with varying levels of case management available to all occupants. The goal of the program is to move families out of homelessness, helping them develop the skills they need to increase their income and establish housing stability.
Transition House embarked on the Mom’s project because of the difficulty so many families in our area face finding affordable, permanent housing, and because of the enormous, traumatic impact homelessness has on families and children. For some, moving back to permanent housing is only the first step in recovering from the impact of homelessness and the dramatic issues the family experienced leading up to their loss of housing. Long-term case management services are often required to keep the household financially stable and ensure that every member of the family has the opportunity to realize the promise of a brighter future.
The units were financed through Low-Income Housing Tax Credits (LIHTC), funds from the City of Santa Barbara’s Community Development Department, and project-based Section 8 vouchers from the Housing Authority of the City of Santa Barbara. Because of this financing, Transition House is able to charge very low rents, depending on the clients’ income.
One of the families housed at Mom’s is a 56-year-old single mom who was laid off from her job in 2009. After doubling up with relatives and living in motels, in 2011, she was a hair’s breath away from living with her daughter in her car. An opening in Transition House’s emergency shelter kept that horror from becoming a reality.
After seven months in the emergency shelter, and rigorous job-hunting, the woman and her daughter were able to move into one of the six two-bedroom units in Mom’s. Now she has a job and her daughter has a room of her own.
Transition House is proud to bring these affordable housing units to the community.
— Kathleen Baushke is executive director of Transition House.