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Wednesday, December 12 , 2018, 1:34 pm | Fair 63º


Letter to the Editor: Aging Residents At Risk of Losing Local Housing Options

Once upon a time, landlords would look upon long-term renters as bread and butter, security, not costing them a turnover expense frequently like students do.

However, in recent years the tide has changed. Many landlords are aging out themselves and are selling to out-of-the-city owners or conglomerates who have no thought about the renters but are looking to perhaps update the location and obtain top dollars.

One woman lived over 30 years in her apartment and was forced out at 87 years old with a 30-day notice. Another, at 77 years old from her 22-year apartment. A cancer patient was removed while she was in the hospital fighting for her life.

I can go on and on with the aged and years spent in a long-term rentals. The numbers of individuals calling me are staggering.

The problem is, there is no lateral move for these individuals. And with recently a .01 percent rental availability in our community, there is no place for them to go and waiting lists for senior locations that are at least three to five years long. In the panic of only 30-days notice, they cannot even think of streamlining and selling items.

With five colleges and multiple language schools in our city, students grab up most of the housing. The campuses do not provide enough housing for the number of students they are bringing here. And affordable housing is a whole other subject.

Our long time, local, voting, taxpaying residents are becoming homeless due to lack of housing taken up by short-term students. Something must be done. This, along with Airbnb, is creating a huge deficit in available housing.

Campuses need to make on-campus dwelling an incentive. Language schools must only bring who they can obtain in-home stays or their own campus dwellings. Businesses have plenty of buildings to lease and need to stop taking up residential locations as offices. We are in a crisis and have few plans.

The individuals I am speaking of are lifelong residents. Their entire lives are here. Doctors, medical services, faith locations, friends, etc. Forcing them out to another possibly lower-cost city is not an option.

I have been doing all I can to aid seniors with housing. We need to look at this as a community and find solutions. Our City Council needs to seriously consider these facts.

Deborah Barnes
Santa Barbara

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