Santa Barbara Housing Authority Receives $10 Million for Affordable Housing for Special Needs Residents

Santa Barbara Housing Authority Receives $10 Million for Affordable Housing for Special Needs Residents

Source: Housing Authority, City of Santa Barbara

The California Tax Credit Allocation Committee (CTCAC) allocated $10,301,010 million in Federal Low Income Housing Tax Credits (LIHTC) to a local project to be developed by the Housing Authority City of Santa Barbara (HACSB) through its instrumentality non-profit, Santa Barbara Affordable Housing Group (SBAHG). The new housing will be constructed for those with special needs including the homeless. Total development costs are estimated at $17.6 million. 

Vera Cruz Village will be located at 116 E. Cota Street. The project will serve the special needs population in the Santa Barbara Community by providing 28 new affordable rental studio units, a one-bedroom manager’s unit, and free supportive services. The Housing Authority purchased the site, previously approved as an AUD project for 15 two-bedroom market rate rental units and commercial space, with plans to convert the development to provide affordable housing units. 

The California Tax Credit Allocation Committee (CTCAC), which administers the Federal Low-Income Housing Tax Credits (LIHTC), selected the local project for LIHTC funding at the conclusion of a highly competitive application process. Tax credit developments must meet high design and operating standards, including strong management and excellent development quality.  

The LIHTC funding stimulates private investment in affordable housing by awarding tax credits to developers, who agree to reserve a portion or all their housing units for low-income households for a minimum of 55 years. Developers sell their tax credits to investors to obtain equity financing for their developments. This federal resource continues to be one of the state’s most successful public-private partnerships and accounts for approximately 90 percent of all affordable rental housing created in the United States today. 

“Together, HACSB and SBAHG have established a proven track record for developing high quality, affordable housing for targeted populations in Santa Barbara,” says Housing Authority’s Executive Director, CEO, Rob Fredericks. “With the recent completion of The Gardens on Hope for seniors and Johnson Court, designed to address the needs of formerly homeless veterans, we are turning our attention to developing this exciting new housing project. It is critically needed by vulnerable special needs residents who have a difficult time finding a clean, safe, place to call home where they can receive the services and support they need to stabilize their lives.” 

The property consists of two parcels with a combined total of approximately 11,000 square feet and sits across the street from the current Cota Street commuter parking lot. The proposed project provides 28 studio units for very low and low-income renters, a one-bedroom manager unit, and common area and office space to accommodate the provision of services and activities on-site. Construction is anticipated to start in the fall of 2021 and be completed within 12 to 14 months. All studio units will be subsidized with Project Based Vouchers, making rent affordable at 30% of a resident’s income.  

The Cota Street property will feature: 

  • A walkable downtown location that is close to essential services and other amenities. 
  • A strong “good neighbor” policy, exemplary of the Housing Authority’s proven track record with managing permanent supportive housing developments. 
  • Project-based rental assistance to provide affordable rent to every resident. 
  • Regular on-site supportive services including case management and instructor-led educational and health and wellness classes available to residents free of charge. 
  • Free in-unit internet service. 
  • A full-time on-site manager to oversee the apartment complex. 
  • A community room for resident programs, group activities, and support groups. 
  • Controlled access points for entering and exiting the property. 
  • No parking demand for residents, reducing the traffic impact of the area. 


Vera Cruz Village Development Partners include: 

Owner and General Partners 

116 E. Cota Street Associates, LP 

Garden Court, Inc. 

2nd Story Associates 


Santa Barbara Affordable Housing Group  

Equity Investor/Limited Partner 



DesignARC, Inc. 

General Contractor 

Frank Schipper Construction Co. 

Property Manager 

Housing Authority of the City of Santa Barbara 


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