SANTA BARBARA, Calif. — The local economy has been decimated from the impacts of COVID-19, as the number of people jobless and homeless continues to rise.
“It’s an unprecedented time, it’s almost like we’re crying there with them,” Sierra Property Management CEO Michelle Roberson said. “We don’t know what to tell them, how life is going to proceed because there’s so many unknowns.”
“As more and more people are losing their jobs and income, they need housing assistance,” Housing Authority City of Santa Barbara CEO Rob Fredericks said.
To help those in need, the Housing Authority of the City of Santa Barbara (HACBS) is offering a section 8 housing choice voucher program.
This provides direct rental payments to landlords on behalf of tenants who are struggling financially because of the pandemic.
“It’s really essential to have the safety net program to provide that housing assistance,” Fredericks said.
“Many residents that lost their jobs and had to pay a large portion of their rent through the program, immediately got assistance through the housing authority,” Roberson said.
Despite not being able to work in this current job market, Talia Tashma-Rapp is able to afford her rent with help from the program.
“I feel blessed everyday,” Talia Tashma-Rapp said. “I have just a place where I feel safe.”
“Both the landlords and the tenants are very thankful during this time that they’re tied in with the housing authority for this rental assistance program,” Fredericks said.
“They saved my life honestly,” Tashma-Rapp said. “I’m so grateful.”
With the cooperation of private landlords, the Housing Authority of the City of Santa Barbara hopes to keep people off the streets and feeling safe in their homes.
“We already have a homeless crisis,” Fredericks concluded. “We need to provide housing assistance for people.”
For landlords interested in participating in the program, please reach out to HACSB’s leasing agent Jerry Morales at 805-897-1049 or firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.