Santa Maria Sun / News
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [santamariasun.com] - Volume 13, Issue 14
Local nonprofit presents plans for a new low-income senior community
BY AMY ASMAN
Seniors living in Santa Barbara County will soon have a new, affordable option for retirement living. Local nonprofit The Rona Barrett Foundation has partnered with the Santa Barbara County Housing Authority and several other organizations to create The Golden Inn & Village, a low-income living facility for seniors.
“This is about every one of us—baby boomers, grandparents, parents, and grandchildren—and answering the question, ‘what do I do with my parents?’” philanthropist and senior advocate Rona Barrett said at a June 7 community meeting in Solvang. “There is more need for this kind of housing than ever before.”
According to information gathered by The Rona Barrett Foundation, there are more than 5,000 people over the age of 74 living on Social Security alone in the tri-county area.
Santa Barbara County’s population of residents ages 85 and older increased approximately 32 percent from 2000 to 2010. Additionally, an elder economic security index from UC Los Angeles predicts nearly 40 percent of the county’s senior population is financially insecure.
“And a lot of these people are sick or need extra help,” Barrett said. “On $800 a month, they can barely pay their rent [and] their phone bill, let alone medical care or even food.”
To address these challenges, Barrett and her foundation started developing plans to build a living community designed specifically for low-income seniors—but with the most up-to-date care and amenities.
“I called it The Golden Inn because I wanted people to have a feeling of knowing, maybe, what life would be like going through the golden years,” Barrett said.
Located on the corner of Highway 246 and Refugio Road in Santa Ynez, the 7.34-acre site will feature a 60-bed assisted living and memory care facility, 70 low-income senior apartments, a community center, and 24 apartments for employees and their families. Head architect Detty Peikert of Peikert Group Architects, LLP, said all of the buildings will be eco-friendly and designed in a way that will “minimize environmental impacts on the Santa Ynez Valley community.”
The development will also feature an exercise room, dining room, and kitchen, as well as daycare services for dependent adults and employees’ children. The foundation and the housing authority are currently looking for experts in the field of assisted living and Alzheimer’s care to join the project.
John Polanskey, the housing authority’s director of housing development, presented an “admittedly aggressive development plan,” which predicted escrow to close on the land in October of this year. Development process with the county would hopefully begin in early 2013, thus allowing construction to break ground in 2014 or 2015.
A conceptual plan has already been submitted to the county, and the project is set to go before the Santa Barbara County Planning Commission on June 20.
“We’ve already started getting calls from people asking if there’s a waiting list [for residents],” Polanskey said.