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Peoples’ Self-Help Housing Breaks Ground for Jardin de las Rosas in Santa Barbara

The 40-unit affordable housing project is being built at 510 North Salsipuedes St. and will open in fall 2017

Peoples’ Self-Help Housing breaks ground on the Jardin de las Roses project in Santa Barbara Wednesday with the help of project partners, elected officials and community members.
Peoples’ Self-Help Housing breaks ground on the Jardin de las Roses project in Santa Barbara Wednesday with the help of project partners, elected officials and community members.  (James Fike / Noozhawk photo)

With vacancy rates at an all time low and housing costs climbing, there's an apparent need for affordable housing in Santa Barbara. 

The People's Self-Help Housing Corporation, partnering with organizations including the Goleta Valley Housing Committee and J.P. Morgan Chase, broke ground at its new development, Jardin de las Rosas, Wednesday morning.

The site at 510 N. Salsipuedes St. in Santa Barbara, will have 40 units for low-income families. 

The new development is expected to open in the fall of 2017, according to John Fowler, CEO and president of Peoples' Self-Help Housing. 

Jardin de las Rosas will have an interior courtyard, multipurpose room, community center, youth education center, on-site laundry, and staff offices. 

Mayor Helene Schneider has an end homelessness campaign, and this new development will allocate at least 10 percent of the units to homeless people, Fowler said. 

The rest of the units will be filled through a financial screening process. 

Ideally, Fowler wants residents who make roughly $19,000 to $40,000 annually, or 30-60-percent of the area median income (AMI). 

In the past, a lottery system was implemented to see who would have the opportunity to live in these low-income houses and Fowler said it was likely that system would be implemented for this project as well.  

“As beautiful as it is here, it’s not easy living in Santa Barbara. Each day we hear from hardworking families, who despite working multiple jobs, can’t afford suitable housing,”  Fowler said. 

Father Pedro Lopez of Our Lady of Guadalupe gave a blessing to the crowd during the groundbreaking of the new Peoples’ Self-Help Housing project Wednesday. Click to view larger
Father Pedro Lopez of Our Lady of Guadalupe gave a blessing to the crowd during the groundbreaking of the new Peoples’ Self-Help Housing project Wednesday.  (James Fike / Noozhawk photo)

Dave Gustafson, the organization's board chair, said these 40 new units were critical to the city of Santa Barbara, and that downtown is an ideal location for walking to work.   

“This (site) will allow them to work and live in the same place,” Gustafson said. 

One of the problems PSHH had to deal with was how these low-income housing developments would be seen by the rest of the public.

Some residents have a, “We don't want those kind of people living amongst us,” type of mindset, Gustafson said.

“You have to design the project right and absolutely have to manage the project right.”  

Gustafson said that many of the projects have improved the conditions of the neighborhood and that they're sometimes the nicest looking projects on the street. 

He believes that low-income housing has no negative effect on its environment.

“These folks are getting a chance to live there and they live like any other neighbors, and I don't think there is any detriment to it at all.”

Several city officials and community members spoke about the project during the groundbreaking ceremony and one theme was prevalent: gratitude. 

First District County Supervisor Salud Carbajal said the project enriches the community and stimulates the economy, since more than 100 workers will participate in the construction of the new development. 

Peoples' Self-Help Housing got its start in 1970 as a way to help farm worker families build and own their own homes. Now in its 46th year, the organization has overseen more than 1,600 units built in the Central Coast area. 

Noozhawk intern James Fike can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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