Brisa Encina affordable housing project in Mission Hills near Lompoc.
The Brisa Encina 49-unit affordable housing project proposed for Mission Hills near Lompoc will include 25 studio apartments, 12 one-bedroom units and 12 two-bedroom apartments to be built with Mission-style architecture. (Contributed rendering)

A nonprofit organization will receive a $13.8 million grant from the state for an affordable housing project planned for the Mission Hills community near Lompoc.

The Cabrillo Economic Development Corp. said the funding has been designated for the new Brisa Encina development at 1498 Burton Mesa Blvd.

That project, estimated at $21 million, calls for a 49-unit affordable housing development with 25 studio apartments, 12 one-bedroom units and 12 two-bedroom apartments to be built with Mission-style architecture.

“We’re about ready to go,” Frank Thompson of Thompson Housing LLC said, adding that construction drawings were being readied ahead of putting the project out for bid.

While they sought more funding from the state grant program, the amount allocated puts the project closer to the goal needed to proceed, he added.

The development will include 12 units for formerly homeless veterans utilizing the federal Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing program and two additional units for other veterans. 

It also will include 13 units for households with members experiencing mental illness.

The CEDC will manage the project and will work with the United Way of Northern Santa Barbara County to provide four full- and part-time employees for case management and service coordination for the formerly unhoused and disabled populations, according to Margarita de Escontrias, chief executive officer for the CEDC. 

The grant is from the California Department of Housing and Community Development.

Brisa Encina is a joint development with Firebird Properties LLC and Thompson Housing LLC, which currently own the property and received approvals with Santa Barbara County. 

A longtime developer, Thompson guided the project through the Santa Barbara County planning process and tweaked the plan upon hearing concerns from Mission Hills residents who put up signs opposing the development.

Neighbors’ worries led to revisions, including a reduction in the number of units from the original proposal of 70. 

Additionally, CommUnify has worked closely with the developer on establishing a Head Start program at a child-care facility in a separate building at the site. 

The CEDC will acquire the site from Firebird Properties LLC at the closing of construction financing, when grading and construction are ready to start on the project, authorities said. 

At that point, the development will be owned and managed by the CEDC.  

Land-use and zoning approvals were granted last summer, and the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors approved a financial tool earlier this year while also speaking favorably about the development.

Grading at the site could start at the end of this year, with construction done and apartments ready for residents in late 2024, Thompson said Friday.

The Santa Barbara County project was among about 58 communities across California awarded more than $825.5 million to build 9,550 residential units under a new simplified funding approval process. 

Another Santa Barbara County project, the Buellton Garden Apartments planned by People’s Self-Helping Housing, also received funding under the grant program with an award of $24 million, according to the state.