Santa Barbara County receives $3 million in federal funds for emergency housing vouchers for homeless

Vouchers to be distributed to qualified applicants referred to the City and County program; new landlord incentives and support included in package

Emergency Housing Vouchers (EHVs) intended to help prevent and end homelessness are now available for Santa Barbara County residents in desperate need. Funded by the American Rescue Plan Act signed into law in March by President Biden, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) allocated $5 billion in funding for emergency housing vouchers to be distributed nationwide for housing the homeless. HUD Secretary Marcia L. Fudge said, “Homelessness in the United States was increasing even before COVID-19, and we know the pandemic has only made the crisis worse. HUD’s swift allocation of this $5 billion in American Rescue Plan funding reflects our commitment to addressing homelessness as a priority. With this strong funding, communities across the country will have the resources needed to give homes to the people who have had to endure the COVID-19 pandemic without one.”

The HUD award totals over $3,000,000, and will be used for vouchers that will be distributed countywide between the Housing Authority of the City of Santa Barbara (HACSB) and the Housing Authority of the County of Santa Barbara (County Housing Authority). The EHVs will assist individuals and families who are homeless; at risk of homelessness; fleeing or attempting to flee domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, stalking or human trafficking or are recently homeless or have a high risk of housing instability.

“Santa Barbara is no stranger to the serious impacts of the pandemic, the high cost of living and the lack of clean, safe affordable housing for our most vulnerable populations who find themselves in dire circumstances with no permanent roof over their heads,” said Rob Fredericks, HACSB Executive Director/CEO. “We are keenly aware that the key to circumventing homelessness and poverty – as well as maintaining mental, physical and emotional health – begins with having a stable, secure place to call home. With this year’s accelerated rise in people being displaced in our community, the American Rescue Act funding will go a long way towards improving the lives of those who need it most.”

“The Housing Authority of the County of Santa Barbara is proud to be a partner with the City Housing Authority and the County’s Continuum of Care in our ongoing struggle to end homelessness,” said Bob Havlicek, HACSB Executive Director. “The newly designed Emergency Housing Voucher Program through the American Rescue Plan Act provides additional funds for rental assistance as well as supportive services to ensure the success of homeless families/individuals. Our agency remains committed to servicing and making a positive contribution for our county community as a whole.”

 

These Emergency Housing Vouchers will work similarly to other federal rental assistance programs. Housing vouchers are subsidies, paid directly to the landlord on behalf of participating households. Households then pay the difference between the actual rent charged by the landlord and the amount subsidized by the program. Because the affected families are in such great need, the program will also provide administrative fees to support housing authorities to address barriers to house people experiencing homelessness in partnership with providers. The program will fund landlord engagement, security deposits, and housing navigation to help prospective tenants find housing that suits their needs.

EHV program landlord incentives include:

  • $1,500 signing bonus for each voucher leased up
  • Up to $2,000 in protection insurance for each lease up
  • One month’s security deposit provided for each lease up
  • County of Santa Barbara to provide 3 years of supportive services for each client leased up

Mr. Fredericks and Mr. Havlicek encourage landlords in Santa Barbara County to strongly consider partnering with HACSB and the County Housing Authority to provide more affordable housing options for families looking for Section 8 housing. Mr. Fredericks stated that, “For over 25 years, the Housing Authority has worked to eliminate homelessness in Santa Barbara, one home at a time.” He emphasizes that, “We cannot do it alone. The new HUD funding will help to further our relationships with other public agencies, private landlords and new voucher holders. HACSB provides infrastructure for landlords to successfully secure great renters. They receive financial incentives and their rental income is guaranteed. Formerly homeless individuals and families who are newly housed can focus on improving their quality of life. It is an ideal partnership – a win-win for all.”

The vouchers become available July 1. To learn more about Emergency Housing Vouchers or if you are a landlord interested in partnering with the EHV program, please email leasing@hacsb.org for the Housing Authority of the City of Santa Barbara or questions@hasbarco.org for the Housing Authority of the County of Santa Barbara.

About The Housing Authority of the City of Santa Barbara

The Housing Authority of the City of Santa Barbara is a local public agency created for the purpose of providing safe, decent, and quality affordable housing and supportive services to eligible persons with limited incomes, through a variety of federal, state, local and private resources. Since 1969, the Housing Authority of the City of Santa Barbara has developed and/or secured over 3,400 units of affordable rental housing for Santa Barbara through a variety of federal, state, local and private funding sources. Please visit the website hacsb.org.

About The Housing Authority of the County of Santa Barbara (County Housing Authority)

The Housing Authority functions primarily to build, acquire, own manage and maintain residential rental units for persons of extremely low income (less than 30% of area median income), very low income (less than 50% of area median income), and to obtain rental payment assistance for similar households renting in the private real estate market. Operating through a central administrative office in Lompoc and housing management and maintenance offices in Goleta, Lompoc, and Santa Maria, the Housing Authority provides direct services to applicants, tenants and private property owners. The Housing Authority is the largest property management organization in the County. For more information, visit hasbarco.org.

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