Monday, August 14, 2006

Excuse me? Housing Aid in Santa Barbara?

Um, is it just me, or does anyone else read this and go WTF? Santa Barbara OKs Housing Aid for Folks Making Up to $160,000 a Year

In what is believed to be the last vacant lot in Santa Barbara, the City Council has given the green light to build a "housing project", a condominium complex that will range between $495,000 to $595,000. Most housing in Santa Barbara (which is built pretty much to capacity) goes for well over $1M. Oprah has a home out there worth about $50M. Is she saying "There goes the neighborhood?"

Now, "it's hard to get sympathy for people making $160,000 a year if you're down in Texas or something," said Bill Watkins, head of the UC Santa Barbara Economic Forecast Project. Any household with that kind of money is in the nosebleed section of American earners, and "most of the country would think, 'You're going to subsidize that person's house? You're kidding me.' "

But in this city — where the median home price is around $1.2 million — that person needs help. And the Housing Authority of the City of Santa Barbara is about to become the rare public housing agency to assist the well-heeled along with the poor, to build shelter for those whose business cards come in designer leather cases and include words like "doctor," "lawyer," "director."

The dilema is keeping the working class in a rich person's city. I guess everything is relative.


Pete's Blog said...

As they say "Only in America".

Well perhaps in some parts of Saudi Arabia and Monte Carlo ;-)

robin andrea said...

Oh yes, this makes me say WTF. People making $160,000 a year should not expect a housing hand-out. When I was in college I worked for the Housing Authority in Boulder, Co. When they handed out housing support it went to people most in need. I don't know how Santa Barbara can get away with this. OTOH, doctors have been leaving cities like Santa Cruz because they no longer can afford to live there. The university is having a harder time finding faculty because the salary is not enough to be able to purchase a home. I don't think public-funded subsidy is the answer.

Alicia said...

Gawd. This society is seriously skewed.

DivaJood said...

Pete, and possibly the Gold Coast, eh?

Robin Andrea, I guess $160K is the new poor in Santa Barbara.

Alicia, I joined the Habitat Team.

Lew Scannon said...

If you can't find an affordable house on $160,000 a year, I suggest you commute.

DivaJood said...

Lew, if you can't find affordable housing on $160K per year, you're buying too many no foam lattes.