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.