Nonprofit Grace Housing Begins to Fulfill Legacy of Grace Lutheran Church with First Community Contributions; Disbursements Top $60K

GHI Reception Group

Grace Housing, Inc. Board members, award recipients and representatives of partner organizations at the May 12 reception. Front row (left to right):Pat Wheatley, Grace Housing, Inc. Board Vice President; Inez Christensen, Board Treasurer; Martha Santrizos, Director, Grace Food Pantry; Kathleen Baushke, Executive Director, Transition House; Middle row: Jeannie Christensen, Board Member; Diana D’Evelyn, Board Secretary; Jon Peterson, CEO, Habitat for Humanity of Southern Santa Barbara County; Pam Lewis, Board Member; Laurie Small, Board President; Back row: Bill Jennings, CFO, California Lutheran Homes/Front Porch; Laurel Johnson, Grace Food Pantry; Jaime Garcia, Grace Food Pantry; Andreas Hirsch, Director of Finance & Administration, Southern California West Synod, ELCA; Skip Szymanski, Board Member; Martin Scharlemann, Board Member; Pastor Truls Person, Grace Food Pantry.

 Continuing the legacy of the former Grace Lutheran Church, Santa Barbara, a 113 year ministry that held its final service in 2015, nonprofit Grace Housing, Inc. awarded its first funding allocations — totaling more than $60,000 — to four local causes at a May 12 reception.

Held at the Grace Lutheran Church Fellowship Hall, the reception recognized the recipients chosen for this initial wave of funding: Transition House, Habitat for Humanity, Southwest California Synod of ELCA and Trinity Lutheran Church’s Grace Food Pantry.

 “Since its inception in the early 1900s, the Grace Lutheran Church membership has always looked for ways to support the most critical basic human needs,” said Laurie Small, Grace Housing, Inc. Board President. “Grace Housing is honored to begin fulfilling this legacy, by helping to sustain four organizations which have long served in the same spirit of giving and compassion. ”

The church established the nonprofit Grace Housing, Inc. to continue to provide financial support to programs and organizations that have been long supported by the former Grace Lutheran Church congregation, and that address the basic needs of families and individuals in the greater Santa Barbara community. Primary funding comes from revenue from leasehold agreements established decades ago by Grace Lutheran Church.

The reception also included an update on construction status of Grace Village for Seniors, an affordable senior housing development to be built on land gifted by Grace Lutheran Church to the Housing Authority of the City of Santa Barbara and California Lutheran Homes. The development has obtained discretionary approvals from the City of Santa Barbara and is progressing through additional reviews including a National Environmental Protection Act review process and application for Low-Income Tax Credits (LIHTC). Construction is currently anticipated to begin in early 2017, and is expected to take approximately 12 months to complete.

As additional funding is realized through leases and through private contributions, Grace Housing, Inc. will be able to fund additional community services directed to basic needs of families and individuals, including future programs at Grace Village for Seniors.

In addition to the charitable disbursements, Grace Housing, Inc. has gifted the 3869 State St. church site to establish Grace Village for Seniors, a subsidized senior housing project. The Housing Authority of the City of Santa Barbara and Front Porch Communities and Services are jointly developing Grace Village for Seniors, with construction expected to begin this year. RRM Design Group is the project architect.

Grace Housing, Inc.

Grace Housing, Inc. (GHI) was established by the membership of the former Grace Lutheran Church of Santa Barbara. The non-profit was created to serve the greater Santa Barbara community in support of primary basic needs such as food, shelter, and housing for families and individuals. Grace Housing, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) organization registered in the State of California. More information is available at

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