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New projects and programs are on the way to Isla Vista, following a $3.7 million dollar settlement reached between Santa Barbara County and UC Santa Barbara. 

ISLA VISTA, Calif.—Santa Barbara County Supervisor Laura Capps says the housing crisis in Isla Vista has had far reaching effects.
“There hasn't been student housing on campus. And so then students live in Isla Vista or even in Goleta, and they take the lower income apartments that were going to families… They're pushing them out because their landlords realize that they can charge more for these because students sometimes are supplemented by their parents or whatnot,” said Capps.
The county sued UC Santa Barbara, saying it failed to build enough student housing.
Out of that lawsuit came a $3.7 million dollar settlement— a large portion of which— will go toward combating substandard housing and protecting tenants. 
“There's too many students being crammed into crummy apartments that haven't been cared for, that have mold, that have rickety balconies. We've seen that with bluff falls and things where there's just not safe standards,” said Capps.
Through the Isla Vista Housing Inspection Pilot Program, inspectors will ensure buildings are up to code and file complaints on behalf of the tenant.
Renters who need more support can get a lawyer through the Legal Aid Foundation.
“This would actually allow us to like feel like our voices are heard and our money is going to something. Definitely keeping landlords accountable with like, you know, equitable practices and stuff,” said Yahaira Venegas and Erin Longerbone, who live in Isla Vista. 

The rest of the funds will go toward lighting, facility upgrades, and overall infrastructure improvements. 
“Public spaces are crucial to connect with others, to be able to provide a backyard, especially in an urban dense environment like Isla Vista where there's not backyards or maybe there's multiple people living in a building or in a home. Parks are basically public health,” said Isla Vista Recreation and Parks District General Manager Kimberly Kiefer.

In addition to giving the county $3.7 million dollars, UC Santa Barbara will also build workforce housing and 3,500 new units for student housing in the next few years.

Article Topic Follows: Santa Barbara - South County

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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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