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'The key to ending homelessness' New South Coast development providing affordable housing

Vera Cruz Village will provide 28 studio units for very low and low-income renters
The Housing Authority of the City of Santa Barbara
Vera Cruz Village will provide 28 studio units for very low and low-income renters.

The lack of affordable housing is a problem on the Central and South Coasts.

There are nearly 2,000 residents homeless in Santa Barbara County, at the most recent count.

The latest affordable housing project designated for special needs and homeless individuals in the community breaks ground on Wednesday.

Vera Cruz Village will provide 28 studio units for very low and low-income renters, a one-bedroom manager unit, and common area and office space to accommodate the provision of services and activities on-site, says Rob Fredricks from the Housing Authority of Santa Barbara.

"This type of housing is so needed," he told KCLU. "Housing is really the key to ending homelessness. You can throw all you want at shelters and bridge housing but if you don't have a permanent base, you'll continue to have issues."

The ground breaking event culminates a multi-year effort by HACSB to create additional low-income housing for Santa Barbara’s most vulnerable residents to offset the rising and extreme homelessness rate taking place in the city which has been compounded by the on-going pandemic.

“HACSB, our agency partners, the Santa Barbara City Council and many other supporters, are thrilled to see Vera Cruz Village move into the construction phase to make this much needed housing a reality,” said Fredericks, CEO and Executive Director for HACSB.

“It is situated in an excellent downtown location, in a walkable neighborhood. It’s close to food shopping, public transportation and work opportunities. The housing complex will be a beautiful addition to East Cota Street, making good use of an unused parcel of land," said Fredericks. "The project perfectly represents the HACSB mission - to provide new, affordable, turnkey housing as well as wraparound support services vital for breaking the cycle of poverty and homelessness in Santa Barbara.”

The property consists of two parcels with a combined total of approximately 11,000 square feet and sits across the street from the current Cota Street commuter parking lot.

Construction is anticipated to start in December 2021 and be completed within 18 months.

All studio units will be subsidized with Project Based Vouchers, making rent affordable at 30% of a resident’s income.

Caroline joined KCLU in October 2020. She won LA Press Club's Audio Journalist of the Year Award in 2022 and 2023.

Since joining the station she's won 10 Golden Mike Awards, 5 Los Angeles Press Club Awards, 2 National Arts & Entertainment Awards and a Regional Edward R. Murrow Award for Excellence in Writing.

She started her broadcasting career in the UK, in both radio and television for BBC News, 95.8 Capital FM and Sky News and was awarded the Prince Philip Medal for her services to radio and journalism in 2007.

She has lived in California for eleven years and is both an American and British citizen - and a very proud mom to her daughter, Elsie.