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$72,050 now low income for Santa Barbara County

The numbers show it’s expensive to live in Santa Barbara County, yet people like Hannah Carter try to make it work.

“I always thought I made a pretty decent wage but then the way that stuff costs it’s kinda taken me aback. I don’t know how some people do it, knowing that the jobs that they give people here don’t really make it so they can buy a house – or even the rent – the rent is higher than a house payment a lot of times,” Carter explains.

A Department of Housing and Urban Development or HUD study for Santa Barbara County supports what Carter is saying.

The average cost of rent for a one bedroom apartment in 2017 is $1,323, 7.9% increase. Add bills on top of that and budgets get even tighter.

“My water district just quadrupled my water – there’s no money there for it. What are you supposed to do,” asks Caprice Fowler.

Fowler is one of the people now under the extremely low income guidelines from HUD after a workplace accident left her on disability.

“It’s one thing if people have high paying jobs and they have a lot of discretionary income but for those at the bottom and even towards the middle – even something as simple as a water bill can be a huge obstacle,” she says.

For a single person, the Department of Housing and Urban Development says $50,450 is considered low income for Santa Barbara County.

For a family of four, that number is close to $72,000.

The stress of trying to make ends meet here on the Central Coast is a real struggle for many. “It almost seems like you need someone to give you giant chunk of money just so you can kinda catch your breath, get ahead and get a house,” says Carter.

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