Pixel Tracker

Wednesday, December 19 , 2018, 5:08 am | Fair 43º


Rob Fredericks: In Defense of Housing and Housing America

I often hear people say, “We can’t build our way out of the housing problem, and if people cannot afford to live here then they should move.”

Rob Fredericks Click to view larger
Rob Fredericks. (Housing Authority of the City of Santa Barbara photo)

The national housing shortage is no more evident than right here in Santa Barbara, but telling people to move is not the answer. As we celebrate national Housing America Month in October, now is a critical time to emphasize we can strive to provide relief to some with affordable housing options.

A caring, healthy and vibrant community must ensure service workers, first responders, teachers and others can afford to live where they serve. But we’re falling far short, as California suffers from a 1.5 million shortfall of affordable homes while only producing about 14,000 units annually.

During October, the country recognizes local efforts to meet this demand and raise awareness for the need of additional affordable housing.

At the Housing Authority of the City of Santa Barbara, we’re proud to report that our efforts have resulted in 1,257 affordable homes, and we are creating another 90 new homes for frail seniors and 17 homes for veterans moving from homelessness. These units have been crucial as Santa Barbara faces a near-zero vacancy factor and median home prices approach record levels.

Low- and middle-income families and individuals are being priced out of the community, but the resources do exist to continue providing help.

Santa Barbara County will receive approximately $9.38 million to address housing and shelter solutions from a set-aside of $500 million as Homeless Emergency Aid Program (HEAP) from the state to address immediate homeless housing needs.

There are also two important funding propositions on the November ballot that will help address affordable housing. Proposition 1, the Veterans and Affordable Housing Bond Act, would authorize $4 billion statewide for affordable housing. Proposition 2 would authorize an additional $2 billion for homelessness prevention for persons in need of mental health services.

The Santa Barbara City Council and the Planning Commission will be considering an inclusionary housing ordinance in the coming months. Inclusionary housing requires developers to provide a percentage of new units to households at affordable, low or moderate price points.

Many communities in California, such as Santa Clara and San Mateo, have successfully implemented inclusionary housing without dis-incentivizing new housing construction. I posit that Santa Barbara could successfully implement an inclusionary requirement of at least 10 percent, perhaps with additional bonus density incentives.

At his second inaugural address in 1937, President Franklin Roosevelt said, “I see one third of the nation ill housed, ill clad and ill nourished. But it is not a picture of despair that I paint, but one of hope ...”

Unfortunately, today we are still seeing far too many people ill housed, ill fed and ill clothed. If you believe as I do that that there is a need for affordable housing for our community, I urge you to support these measures and speak up in public hearings on these matters.

On Saturday, Oct. 13, in honor of Housing America Month, the Housing Authority along with community partners will be celebrating Housing Santa Barbara Day! at De la Guerra Plaza downtown. We welcome everyone to come learn more about affordable housing and the resources that are available here in Santa Barbara.

— Rob Fredericks is executive director and CEO of the Housing Authority of the City of Santa Barbara. The opinions expressed are his own.

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.