Community Development Block Grant
Santa Barbara, CA - Mayor Harriet Miller
Ladera Street Project
The Ladera Street Project involves the acquisition and rehabilitation of a 54-unit multi-family rental housing development for very-low-income and low-income families. The property was afflicted with numerous physical and management problems: Substantial deterioration and deferred maintenance coupled with high rents and subsequent overcrowding resulted in serious health, safety and security problems and chronic social problems. The rehabilitation is creating decent affordable housing in an environment that supports the residents' economic and social advancement through a variety of programs. The Project was recently completed, and rental of the final units is underway.
The rehabilitation of the units was made possible by a $975,000 below-market-rate loan funded through the City's CDBG Rental Housing Rehabilitation Loan program. This rehabilitation loan was part of a financing package that will reduce Project costs, making rents affordable to very-low-income and low-income families. Other components of the financing package include: a first deed of trust with a private lender, provided in the form of a private placement tax exempt bond issue of the City Housing Authority; a City Redevelopment Agency loan; a Federal Home Loan Bank grant; and a HOME grant. In addition, the non-profit developer, Peoples' Self Help Housing Corporation, deferred its development fees.
The property is composed of four buildings which surround a central court. The rehabilitation was undertaken one building at a time to avoid displacing tenants. Initially, units were left vacant as normal turnover occurred, and these were the first units to be rehabilitated. Tenants from a second building were moved into these units so that work could begin on their building. This "staggered" rehabilitation process allowed the improvements to be accomplished with a minimum of disruption for tenants.
The Project included re-routing a sewer line in order to remove a sewer lift station that was leaking into the public central courtyard where children played. Children's playground and jungle gym equipment have been added, and three units have been converted into community meeting space, an office for the on-site manager (provided by the non-profit developer), and expanded laundry facilities. The community meeting space is also used to provide services to the tenants, including twice-weekly classes covering hygiene, public health issues, and the care and cleaning of housing units. It is anticipated that other services - child care, after-school tutoring, computer skills training, adult education, health screening, job skills development, and counseling, among them - will be available in the future.
The Peoples' Self Help Housing Corporation found that several of the tenants were skilled in the folk art of Guerrero, Mexico. These artisans were hired to create tile work which has been incorporated into the public spaces, and which is generating pride among the residents. Women's Economic Ventures and the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce are helping these artisans learn to market their crafts and become economically independent.
City officials see the Project as an excellent example of how public funds can be used by an experienced developer to turn around a long-standing public nuisance that was jeopardizing an entire neighborhood. The Project has had a positive impact on the entire community, with calls for Police Department service to the complex down 63 percent, property values of adjacent condominiums up, and residents feeling pride in where they live.
Contact: Steven Faulstich, Housing Programs Supervisor, (805) 564-5318
The United States Conference of Mayors
J. Thomas Cochran, Executive Director
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