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New Senate bill on ADU Grant Program could transform housing crisis in Santa Barbara

SANTA BARBARA COUNTY, Calif.— A backyard revolution is underway in California as a new Senate bill is now headed to Governor Gavin Newsom. 
From working families to college students, the struggle to find an affordable place to live is affecting people from all walks of life. 
“ We live it in a state in the area of Santa Barbara where the price per square foot is really expensive and housing is really expensive. So when people look to buy a house, they look at it now with the eyes of, Well, what can I do to maximize the space? What can I do to help pay the mortgage? And oftentimes the ADU is a great answer to a lot of those questions,” said AKG/ Christie’s realtor Yawar Charlie.
ADUs, or accessory dwelling units, are typically constructed when homeowners convert garages into bedrooms or backyard sheds into guest houses. 
Senate bill 104 will offer an additional $25 million dollars for the ADU Grant Program. 
Approved homeowners would receive up to $40,000 dollars in pre-development costs. 
It could result in up to 2,500 additional ADUs and play a role in Santa Barbara County's housing crisis.
“ The more we start to do this, the more it gets accepted, the more it will start to fill the void for housing rental needs we have, and especially for young families or students, they can afford to live in a 1250 square foot place and they can get to school or get to work,” said Berkshire Hathaway Realtor Dan Johnson.
But realtors say there are some important things to look out for. 
“ It’s not just like a garage that you're going to convert into a gym or a workshop. It's actually a place where somebody is going to live. So you have to take into consideration that you're probably going to bring on some people like electricians, architects, contractors, plumbers,” said Coldwell Banker realtor Yazmin Manno.
ADUs can also increase property values, which means property taxes will go up.
So it’s important to make sure the profits outweighs the costs. 

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Mina Wahab

Arab-American producer & reporter with a mission to dig deep in interviews, share authentically, shed light on the issues that matter, and provoke deep thought.


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