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Habitat for Humanity to Break Ground on Affordable Housing Project in Santa Barbara

Habitat for Humanity of Southern Santa Barbara County will officially break ground Wednesday on its third affordable housing project in Santa Barbara, at 822 E. Canon Perdido St.

The organization will also introduce the 12 families who have been selected to live in the homes. Local city government officials, along with representatives from Habitat staff, the Board of Directors and community supporters will gather to celebrate the beginning of this new affordable housing development.

Twelve new affordable residences will be built at 822 and 824 E. Canon Perdido St., on a lot purchased with Redevelopment Agency funds provided by the City of Santa Barbara. The project will consist of 100 percent affordable low-income units, including two one-bedroom homes, eight two-bedroom homes and two three-bedroom homes, ranging in size from 750 to 1,200 square feet each. One of the homes will be entirely accessible to people with disabilities.

The architectural design of the homes is by local architects Ryan Mills and Ed DeVicente of DMA Architecture.

Habitat for Humanity’s partner families were chosen after an extensive application process from an open pool of eligible candidates. Each adult family member is required to contribute 250 hours of “sweat equity” into the construction of their home. Upon completion of construction, the partner families will purchase their home from Habitat with a zero-interest, no-profit mortgage designed to fit within 35 percent of the homeowner’s annual income.

Affordability covenants recorded with each property will maintain the homes in Santa Barbara’s affordable housing inventory for a minimum of 90 years. Mortgage payments will go into a revolving Fund for Humanity to help fund the construction of more affordable homes in Santa Barbara.

“By providing safe, decent and affordable homes, Habitat for Humanity opens a door for local hardworking and low-income families, allowing them the opportunity for increased self-esteem and self-reliance,” said Joyce McCullough, executive director of Habitat for Humanity of Southern Santa Barbara County. “We believe that owning a home will provide families with the foundation necessary to build the life skills needed to be better parents, better students and thrive in our community,”

Over the past decade, wage rates in Santa Barbara have not kept pace with the skyrocketing costs of housing. Working families earning $30,000 to $50,000 a year often spend more than half their income on housing and often these families are forced to live in overcrowded apartments or unconverted garages, many of which do not meet minimum health and safety standards.

Habitat for Humanity is working hard to eliminate substandard housing in the Santa Barbara community. They provide homes for those who often cannot afford rent. The average monthly mortgage payment is $480 for a Habitat home, much less than the average rent of $990 paid by applicant families, and far less than the average rental price of $1,660 in Santa Barbara.

— Alexandra Ramstrum of Habitat is the development manager for Humanity of Southern Santa Barbara County.

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