U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development
Office of Community Planning and Development

Consolidated Plan Contact


The County of Santa Barbara is located approximately 100 miles north of the city of Los Angeles and is bordered on the east by Ventura County, on the north-east by Kern County, on the north by San Luis Obispo County, and on the south and west by the Pacific Ocean. Due to its pristine location and wonderful climate, Santa Barbara County is consistently listed among the top 25 least affordable housing markets in the Country. The County of Santa Barbara's HOME Consortium includes the unincorporated county and the cities of Guadalupe, Santa Maria, Lompoc, and Carpinteria.

Action Plan

In fiscal year 1995, the County of Santa Barbara's HOME Consortium will receive $1,363,000 in affordable housing subsidy funds from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). The County may also compete for $500,000 in Community Development Block Grant funds from the State of California. Despite the county's substantial urban population, Santa Barbara County does not receive Community Development Block Grant funds from HUD.

Citizen Participation

The County of Santa Barbara's Affordable Housing Program is the lead agency for implementing the Consolidated Plan. Consultations were held with other representatives from social service and building departments. Two public participation forums were held during the planning process to solicit input on needs and priority setting.


The County's Consolidated Plan was written to provide information regarding the entire county with the exclusion of Santa Barbara. This attempt at a Consortium-specific analysis may lead to some confusion. The County (excluding the City of Santa Barbara) had a total population of 284,037 as of the 1990 Census date. The population in the northern regions of the County (Santa Ynez Valley, Santa Maria, and Guadalupe) grew by 45% from 1980 to 1990.

Ethnic diversity in the County has been increasing since 1970, when the Hispanic population represented 17.3 percent of the County total. In 1990, that percentage had increased to 26.6 percent of the County. The white (non-Hispanic) population has declined from 77.1 percent in 1970, to 66.1 percent in 1990.

County population, excluding the City of Santa Barbara, saw an increase in the percentage of people living in poverty. In 1980, 10.5% of the population lived below the poverty line and in 1990 that figure increased to 12.8%. The increase in percentage of persons in poverty did not ignore any ethnic group, however, 21.7% of the County's Hispanic population lived in poverty in 1990, the highest percentage of any ethnic group. The two regions which experienced a relative increase in median income also saw the percentage of poverty increase, indicating a polarization in income levels.

Countywide (excluding the City of Santa Barbara) 59% of the households are owner-occupied. The highest rate of ownership is in the Santa Ynez Valley where 68% of households own their own homes.


Housing Conditions

Housing condition data are somewhat limited. The majority of the county's houses were built after 1960, only 6.2% before 1940. Some neighborhoods which are impacted by the county's overcrowding problem are also experiencing some structural deterioration. The county also has a number of mobile home parks which contain sub-standard units.

Housing Needs

The high population growth rate coupled with the increasing importance of the agricultural and service sector to the county's economy and the decrease in high tech employment points to a need for affordable housing opportunities for low and very low income working families. Over 80% of very-low income households experience some type of housing problem (e.g., cost burden, overcrowding).

Market Conditions

County-wide medians demonstrate the trend which occurred in each individual region of the county, median income did not keep up with the increase in housing costs. Assuming an 8% interest rate, 10% down payment and 30 year loan term. a family earning the median income in 1990 ($35,677) and paying 30% of their gross income in mortgage payments could afford to purchase a home which cost $133,710. This is just over half of price of the median home in 1990, $250,000. Gross rent increased by 118% from 1980 to 1990, while income increased 98.6%.

Between 1990 and 1994 the county's population was estimated to increase by 25,563. During that period 2,864 new residential units were constructed. That rate of construction equates to one new unit for every 9 new persons.

Affordable Housing Needs

In 1995, it is estimated that 80% of extremely low income households experienced some type of housing problem, 77% pay more than have of their income on housing costs. Households whose incomes are between 31% and 50% of median experience housing burdens at a rate of 68%. In that category, 89% of all large families experience housing burdens. Renters between 31% and 50% of median are 30% more likely to experience housing problems than owners. Just over half (52%) of households between 51% and 80% of median income experience housing burdens. Of all households in the county 41% experience some type of housing problem.

Homeless Needs

The majority of homeless persons are unattached adults (1,633), followed by children (1,111), adults in families (733), and unattached youth (46). Of these, 106 were veterans. Ethnicity of the homeless population in Santa Barbara County is as follows: Asian-Pacific Islander, 1%; African- American, 12%; Caucasian, 49%; Native American, 1%; Hispanic, 37%.

One of the primary causes of homelessness is a loss of employment or inability to find a job. Both the cause and effect of homelessness for a great number of this population is drug and alcohol dependency and mental illness. Santa Barbara County has lost hundreds of jobs due to the closure of several major companies, resulting in strenuous competition for the few available jobs. A primary source of employment in South County is the tourist industry and in North County migrant farm labor, both of which tend to pay low wages. Santa Barbara County also suffers from a severe shortage of affordable housing, forcing many people who do work these jobs to live in crowded, unsanitary and unsafe environments. Further, persons suffering from mental and physical illness are often evicted or unable to secure housing.

The number of daily beds available in Santa Barbara County is 566 in shelter settings and 126 in hotel environments which provide SRO's to persons on General Relief. In addition, in Santa Barbara City, 23 daily beds are available to persons with AIDS. The Salvation Army in Santa Barbara assigns a limited number of beds for physically or mentally ill persons. Additional beds available at the National Guard Armories in Santa Barbara and Santa Maria during the winter season number approximately 245. Transitional housing provides approximately 64 beds for periods up to eighteen months. With the maximum number of beds available at 1,686, Santa Barbara County falls short 1,837 beds at time of maximum need. Only one provider of homeless shelter offers beds for ill or recovering clients. No other provisions are available for sick children or their parents at shelters except at the transitional housing sites. A licensed infant center was recently opened at the Transition House in Santa Barbara.

Shelter providers express a need for daytime housing which would include: child care, provision for physically and mentally ill homeless persons (including persons with AIDS), employment training and assistance, medical care, a permanent address and telephone, sanitary facilities, personal counseling, drug and alcohol prevention and treatment, and a continuum of care to transition homeless persons into permanent housing and employment. Existing shelter facilities in the cities of Santa Barbara and Santa Maria are suitable for expansion to daytime care.

Public and Assisted Housing Needs

The Housing Authority of Santa Barbara County owns 536 units of housing. Guadalupe Acres is the oldest of the public housing projects. It was built in 1954. The newest complex is in Orcutt, Leland Park, and is eight years old. In general, the public housing projects are in good condition. Some major systems are in need of replacement and are being replaced but none of the complexes are in deteriorating condition. Guadalupe Acres and Evans Park are undergoing modernization (e.g., cabinet replacement) in conjunction with the lead-based paint abatement activities.

The Evans Park Development in Santa Maria has various on-going resident programs which are funded through HUD's Drug Elimination Program. Independent funds are also used to support resident programs in that development. On-site programs include a neighborhood watch program, resident council, youth resident council, family counseling, peer tutoring, parenting classes, personal computer classes, parent/child reading hour, ESL classes, a lending library, afterschool recreation, and youth boxing.

There are 21 project based Section 8 units in the County, all of which are located in the City of Lompoc. There also exist 2,065 tenant based certificate units, and 388 voucher units. These vouchers and certificates represent an increase of 117 over those available last year. On December 30, 1994, the Housing Authority closed its waiting list. There were three times the number of people on the waiting list than there are certificates.

Barriers to Affordable Housing

There are many challenges to the development of affordable housing in a place like Santa Barbara County. Much of what attracts people to this part of our state is related to the natural beauty and fertility of the land. There is great pressure, therefore, to heavily regulate the use of land in this County. Regulations intended to preserve the natural resources and agriculturally productive land tend to both increase the value of buildable land and lengthen the development process.

Governmental regulation, while intentionally regulating the quality of development, can unintentionally delay construction, increase the financial and/or overhead costs of development and in turn, increase the cost of housing. The topic of governmental regulation in relation to the cost of housing has been a popular and well debated topic throughout Santa Barbara County for the last several years. Restrictive land use and housing policies are partially responsible for rising housing prices. Land use and growth controls create artificial scarcities while the demand for housing grows, resulting in increased rents and home prices. Opponents to this argument state that land use controls are necessary to balance growth with limited services and resources such as water, roads and urban land.

Fair Housing

The County is affirmatively furthering fair housing through use of an affirmative fair marketing plan. adding fair housing information to all publications and brochures, and preparing an analysis to impediments of fair housing choice.

Lead-Based Paint

In a 1992 study conducted by the Child Health and Disability Prevention division of County of Santa Barbara Health Care Services, approximately 2,400 children were tested for levels of lead present in the bloodstream. The study revealed no clustering of high blood lead content cases.

In January, 1995, the Affordable Housing Program consulted with Children's Medical Services (CMS) in the County Office of Health Care Services to update the above information. CMS estimated that three percent of the children they see have elevated blood-lead levels. The cause of the elevated levels is typically the result of cultural practices such as the use of folk remedies or from food prepared in glazed pots and not lead-based paint.

Community Development Needs

The County of Santa Barbara is currently not eligible to receive block grant entitlement. Any funds the County applies for from the State will most likely be housing-related. As the County comes closer to receiving entitlement status, we will provide an assessment of the county's non-housing community development needs. That assessment will be submitted as an amendment to this Consolidated Plan and will be presented for comment through the citizen participation process.


Vision for Change

The goal of the Affordable Housing Program is to create opportunities for the development of affordable housing through financial incentives. The County is working to create an effective housing finance agency which will develop the resources and provide loans used to leverage other public and private resources for the acquisition, rehabilitation, and new construction of homes for low and very-low income families and individuals.

Housing Priorities

The County of Santa Barbara's HOME Consortium 5-year housing priorities include:

Non-housing Community Development Priorities

The County of Santa Barbara, despite its substantial urban population, does not receive Community Development Block Grant funds from HUD.

Anti-poverty Strategy

The county-wide poverty level (excluding Santa Barbara City) increased from 10.5% in 1980 to 12.8% in 1990. This is certainly an unhealthy trend for Santa Barbara County. The majority of the county's seven regions saw poverty levels increase in that ten year period. Poverty levels are highest for those in the category "Single Parent and Other Family" ("Other Family" means there is someone who is related to the householder living in the same household). Children under the age of 18 suffer the highest rate of poverty.

In summary, the County of Santa Barbara's strategy to decrease the number of families in poverty includes the creation of affordable housing opportunities to alleviate housing cost burden, the creation of jobs by efforts of the Economic Development Director, and job skills training through the Department of Social Services and services provided by local non-profit organizations.

Housing and Community Development Resources

The following resources are expected to be available for affordable housing from fiscal year 1995 through fiscal year 1999.

Coordination of Strategic Plan

Removing the Affordable Housing Program from the Planning Department has created a need for coordination between the Planning Department and the Treasurer's Office. The County will work to achieve clarity of roles and improved coordination between the two departments.

Social service providers will receive notices of available funds as well as notice of any workshop the Affordable Housing Program offers. Informal relationships will also develop as a result of consultations which increase awareness of county-wide needs and resources.


Description of Key Projects

The following are the County HOME Consortium's project anticipated for use of 1995 HOME funds:

Lead Agency

The County of Santa Barbara's Affordable Housing Program, located in the Office of the Treasurer- Tax Collector is the lead agency for the County of Santa Barbara's HOME Consortium and also is the primary office for competitive grants through the State-administered CDBG Program. All County projects are approved by the Loan Committee and then the Board of Supervisors. All projects in the consortium-member cities are approved by city councils, at a minimum.

Housing Goals

The projects intended to be assisted with 1995 HOME funds should provide rental housing for 63 very-low income renter households, homeownership for 13 low income families, special needs housing for 8 very-low income adults, and housing rehabilitation for 10 very-low income households.


MAP 1 depicts points of interest in the jurisdiction.

MAP 1a depicts points of interest and low-moderate income areas of the county.

MAP 2a depicts points of interest and low-moderate income areas in the northernwestern portion the county.

MAP 2b depicts points of interest and low-moderate income areas in the southeastern portion of the county.

MAP 2c depicts points of interest and low-moderate income areas in the central portion of the county.

MAP 3a depicts points of interest, low-moderate income areas, and minority concentration levels in the northwestern portion the county.

MAP 3b depicts points of interest, low-moderate income areas, and minority concentration levels in the southwestern portion of the county.

MAP 3c depicts points of interest, low-moderate income areas, and minority concentration levels in the southeastern portion of the county.

MAP 4a depicts points of interest, low-moderate income areas, and unemployment levels in the northwestern portion the county.

MAP 4b depicts points of interest, low-moderate income areas, and unemployment levels in the southwestern portion of the county.

MAP 4c depicts points of interest, low-moderate income areas, and unemployment levels in the southeastern portion of the county.

MAP 5 depicts Neighborhood Segments, streets, low income area, and unemployment with proposed HUD funded projects.

MAP 6 depicts Neighborhood Segments, streets, low income area, and unemployment with proposed HUD funded projects.

TABLE a table (without associated map) provides information about the project(s).

To comment on the Santa Barbara County HOME Consortium's Consolidated Plan, please contact:
Susan L. Ruby
Affordable Housing Program
County of Santa Barbara
P.O. Box 2219
Santa Barbara, CA 93210

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