A groundbreaking ceremony was held Wednesday for Bradley Studios, the latest affordable housing project developed by the City of Santa Barbara’s Housing Authority. The project, which will consist of seven bungalow-style structures of two and three stories, was designed by the Peikert Group Architects and will be located at 512 Bath Street. Its scale and Craftsman-style architecture is meant to blend in with the existing neighborhood.
Mayor Helene Schneider, and Rob Pearson and Barbara Allen, CEO and commissioner for the Housing Authority, respectively, led the public groundbreaking ceremony for the 54-unit housing complex. “We will again be utilizing our precious city space in the most efficient and environmentally sound ways to house those who keep our city running, and those in our community who otherwise would be living at the greatest risk,” said Pearson in a prepared statement.
Bradley Studios is designed for special needs and extremely low-income residents, officials said. The city defines extremely low-income as an individual household income of less than $15,960. The Housing Authority was granted a “density bonus” from the city to permit the 54 units on a site zoned for 28 based on the “substantial public benefit” the project is expected to provide. The units will range from 321 to 445 square feet and include a living/sleeping space, full kitchen and bath, and free utilities and Internet.
With ongoing concern over Santa Barbara’s homeless population, Pearson said, there is a greater need for housing developments like Bradley Studios. “This project, to me, represents a step in the right direction,” he said. Mayor Schneider commented on how the project was “not easy to come by” given how difficult it was to secure city and state funding.
Schneider also described the commencement of the housing project as “bittersweet” because it may be the last time Santa Barbara Housing Authority utilizes funding from California’s Redevelopment Agency (RDA), given Governor Brown’s recent elimination of all state RDAs. According to Schneider, the RDA put $8.4 million into Bradley Studios. “It would be nice to have more groundbreaking opportunities for affordable housing in the future,” expressed Schneider
Councilmember Cathy Murillo said she personally knows a few people who are homeless and in need of a housing project like Bradley Studios. “I do support these programs, very much, and it looks like a beautiful design,” stated Murillo.
Pearson said construction should take around a year. “The Housing Authority already has a waiting list for tenants with special needs and who are homeless,” added Pearson. “We’re hoping to graduate some of our residents from El Carrillo into more independent housing like Bradley Studios.”