Santa Barbara City Council agrees to grant loans to residents of El Zoco Condos in poor condition | Local News

Residents of affordable El Zoco condominiums in Santa Barbara will soon receive financial relief.

City council agreed on Tuesday to loan residents up to $ 200,000 to help them fix the building’s failing infrastructure, such as water damage and general deterioration. The Santa Barbara County Supervisory Board is also expected to donate $ 200,000, along with an additional $ 50,000 from Habitat for Humanity.

El Zoco is a living-working development at 211 W. Gutierrez St. in Santa Barbara. Originally, the houses were reserved for artists who live where they work and were among the only condos for sale below the city market. They were approved by the city in 1993, in partnership with the promoter Homes for People, now defunct.

Without the developer as an option, residents need financial assistance for building repairs. The city will offer residents individual loans, for example, of about $ 27,000, amortized over 30 years at 3% interest. An example of loan repayment would be around $ 114 per month. Those who accept loans will have to sign restrictive covenants for up to 90 years to maintain affordability.

“The benefits for the city will be to preserve affordable, long-term housing that the owner needs badly,” said Laura Dubbels, Housing and Social Services Manager.

The property suffered water damage, which destroyed one of the units, forcing the owners to move out. The Homeowners Association has about $ 24,000 in reserves, having spent nearly $ 200,000 to deal with water damage and other issues, such as repairs to trellis, stucco, plumbing and more. stairs. Even concrete sidewalks are partially raised, creating a tripping hazard.

“I am in favor of protecting what was decades ago our investment in this particular niche of affordable housing,” said City Councilor Mike Jordan, “particularly housing that is owned housing, but the low income housing in this particular case “.

Homes are subject to limited prices, so owners cannot make a profit on their sale, which impairs their ability to obtain loans from banks.

Jordan said he was happy staff were working with the county and other agencies to mix up the participation of organizations.

“I am so excited about this article,” said Councilor Meagan Harmon. “It really, really is a fantastic example of many different stakeholders coming together to solve an issue that has been presented to us by the residents themselves.”

Harmon said that at a time when there is so much focus on creating new affordable housing, it is also important for the city to maintain its existing stock of affordable housing and help it become livable.

“We are creatively investing our capital not in the market, but directly in our neighborhoods, directly in the citizens who pay into our tax funds,” Harmon said. “I really believe this is a great use of our money, our expertise, and I would like us to do more in the future, to invest in our community in a tangible way.”

– Noozhawk staff writer Joshua Molina can be reached at . (JavaScript must be enabled to display this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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