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The need for affordable housing in Santa Barbara continues to increase, according to new Grand Jury report

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SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - Living and working in the City of Santa Barbara is desirable for many people, but one obstacle many face is the high cost of housing.

In 1969, the City created a Housing Authority to address the lack of affordable housing and create housing projects to fulfill the need. But the need continues to increase.

According to a new Santa Barbara County Grand Jury report, the median price of a home is $1,170,200.

The 2019-20 Santa Barbara County Grand Jury investigated the problem and determined the City has not maintained its commitment to provide affordable housing.

According to the report, this creates many issues including a job-housing imbalance. Employers find it difficult to attract and retain qualified workers. Much of the workforce commutes from out of town. Each day there are over 25,000 trips from south of Santa Barbara and over 5,000 trips from North County.

The Jury conducted interviews with local housing officials, developers, real estate professionals, a former planning commissioner, local housing advocates and many others to come up with its findings.

The findings include:

  • There is a shortage of low and middle-income housing units in the City of Santa Barbara.
  • The Santa Barbara City Council has not identified permanent sources of funding to facilitate the development of low and middle-income housing units.
  • The City Council has not identified publicly owned properties that would be appropriate for low and middle-income housing units.
  • The City does not utilize form-based zoning.
  • The City’s zoning ordinance does not adequately allow for consideration of cost effective alternative building types, such as modular housing, small homes, and 3-D printed housing.
  • The City of Santa Barbara does not maximize the use of multi-use zoning in all parts of the City.

To read the full report, including the entire list of findings and recommendations, click here.

The Santa Barbara County Grand Jury has requested the City of Santa Barbara respond to the report within 90 days.

Community / Economy / House & Home / Lifestyle

Genelle Padilla

Genelle Padilla is the co-anchor of KCOY 12 Central Coast News evening newscasts and co-anchor of KKFX My Fox 11 news at 10 p.m.