Developer: Housing Authority of the County of Santa Barbara
Location: Los Alamos, Calif.
The 2013 LIHTC Property that Best Reflects Market Success in Overcoming Significant Obstacles Award is presented to the Housing Authority of the County of Santa Barbara (HACSB) for the development of Creekside Village in Los Alamos, Calif. HACSB overcame more than 11 years of obstacles between the initial funding application and opening day to develop the 39-unit affordable housing property that targets agricultural workers.
During those 11 years, HACSB faced and overcame strong opposition with unyielding drive. Opponents of the development claimed that a nearby creek and trees were habitat to numerous endangered species, including red-legged frogs, the California salamander, the three-spined stickleback fish and golden eagles. Another opponent claimed Chumash Native American artifacts had been found on the site. None of the claims proved to be true, and disproving them required extensive time and expense. After working for several years with the Fish and Wildlife Service, HACSB finally received obtained a “No Take Concurrence” letter and authorization to begin construction.
HACSB also had to meet special criteria to obtain state funding, because of the agricultural focus of Creekside Village’s tenancy plans. To obtain funding from the Joe Serna Jr. Farmworker Housing Grant program, HACSB worked with the state Housing and Community Development (HCD) staff to identify potential residents who were living in substandard housing.
Creekside Village offers two-, three- and four-bedroom affordable units to 39 low-income local residents, a majority of whom are year-round agricultural workers in nearby vineyards. According to Mia Chikamori, the marketing project manager of WNC & Associates Inc., the development’s syndicator, Creekside Village’s rural setting provides residents with easy access to the surrounding agricultural jobs. Chikamori said 50 percent of the units were leased by local residents who had previously been living in substandard, overcrowded conditions.
Congratulations to the Housing Authority of the Country of Santa Barbara for its tenacious drive in overcoming several obstacles to provide an affordable, safe and healthy place for local residents to raise their families.