Sunday, March 7, 2021     Volume: 21, Issue: 53

Santa Maria Sun / News

The following article was posted on January 28th, 2020, in the Santa Maria Sun - Volume 20, Issue 48 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [] - Volume 20, Issue 48

Guadalupe to meet housing needs and keep on building


The city of Guadalupe is on track to exceed its housing goals set by the state through 2027.

Contract Planning Director Larry Appel said this could be due to the small number of units the city was given. According to Guadalupe’s 2019-27 Housing Element, the city needs to add 50 housing units total—less than half of which need to target extremely low to low-income housing—to its stock, while Appel said Santa Maria needs to build 4,001 units. 

“In Guadalupe, we are well on our way to meeting and exceeding that requirement just with the three apartment projects that are under construction right now,” Appel said. “From an affordable housing standpoint, the city is in really good shape.” 

Peoples’ Self-Help Housing is in the process of constructing 38 units of affordable housing. The other projects Appel’s referring to include a 34-unit complex on Pioneer Street that could be used for farmworker housing as well as a 12-unit complex on 11th Street. Although the latter two projects aren’t specifically earmarked as affordable housing, Appel said the price that apartments rent for in Guadalupe is much lower than those in other areas along the coast. 

The Escalante Meadows housing project slated for 11th Street will also add to the city’s affordable housing stock. Proposed by the Housing Authority of the County of Santa Barbara, the project plans to replace 52 units of existing housing with 80 units of multi-family housing. The city is accepting comments on the project’s proposed mitigated negative declaration for impacts through Feb. 10, and it’s scheduled to go before the City Council on Feb. 25.

Larry Deese, a senior project planner with the Housing Authority, said the units currently on site have reached the end of their useful life and need to be replaced. Built as part of the federal government’s big public housing push in the 1950s and 1960s, Deese said the Housing Authority is in the process of doing the same with all of its similar housing units in the county. 

“They’re very old. They’re made out of cinder block. They’re cold and damp, no insulation, no energy efficiency,” Deese said. “These buildings are economically obsolete, meaning they’ve past their usefulness, and to throw more money at them would not solve the problem ... and so we tear them down and replace them and fit the needs of the existing community.” 

According to project documents, the Housing Authority project would be able to house up to 299 more people than the site does now. However, residents currently living on-site will be displaced once the demolition and construction process begins. Deese said the the Housing Authority has plans to find alternative housing for displaced residents as well as provide sufficient funds to assist with moving expenses. 

It’s too early in the process to know how many residents will be displaced and where they will go, Deese said, but those residents will be first in line when the new housing comes online. 

In addition to building new housing units, the Housing Authority has a community, child care, and health care center planned for the complex. Although the doctors and care providers aren’t decided on yet, Deese said that by providing the space, they’re hoping to fill it with exactly what the community needs.

“As a partner to the community, which we are as a public agency ... we have an obligation to, you know, serve as more than just a roof over their heads. ... It turns out in that area, there is a need for day care and some other health services,” Deese said. “We’re interested in health and education. Those are the two things that are most in demand in Guadalupe.” 

Weekly Poll
Where should Santa Barbara County be focusing its efforts to help the local homeless community?

Strengthen partnerships with existing organizations and shelters.
Revamp the once-successful safe parking program.
Provide temporary housing in hotels.
Secure federal funding to get more relief projects off the ground.

| Poll Results

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