Board president David Gustafson, his wife Nancy Gustafson, and executive director John Fowler.

Gail Arnold

Board president David Gustafson, his wife Nancy Gustafson, and executive director John Fowler.

Peoples’ Self-Help Housing Thanks Its Partners and Supporters

Organization Holds Thank You Reception Instead of Annual Gala

On Friday, October 21, Peoples’ Self-Help Housing held a reception at Blush Restaurant to thank its community partners and supporters.

Peoples Self-Help Housing (PSHH) provides affordable housing in Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo, and Ventura Counties through the development, rehabilitation, and management of rental units and through a self-help home ownership program. It serves 5,000 residents in 1,700 rental units and has developed nearly 1,200 homes through the home ownership program. PSHH is known for its provision of extensive support services to all of its rental project residents and for the well-run nature of its operations.

After a pleasant cocktail hour on the back patio of Blush, board president David Gustafson expressed his gratitude to the 50 or so community partners and donors before him, without whom, he noted, PSHH could not have accomplished all that it has over the past 46 years. Gustafson explained PSHH’s holistic approach to helping low income families, seniors and the homeless. “We help our tenants be successful at their tenancy and improve their lives” through various programs and services including on-site afternoon youth education programs, counseling from trained staffed professionals, health clinics, emergency financial assistance, and homeowner education programs.

Gustafson shared how PSHH’s developments “are well-designed, blend in, and improve the character of neighborhoods.” He provided several examples of PSHH’s projects in our area, including the Victoria Hotel on Victoria Street and the Ladera Street Apartments on the Westside, which he noted turned the whole neighborhood around. PSHH transitioned in stages the camper park in Carpinteria from a run-down, lawless environment to Casas de las Flores, a nice, affordable housing project.

In the initial stages are Jardin de las Rosas Apartments, 40 units of downtown worker housing at the corner of Salsipuedes and Haley Streets, and 70 units of affordable housing at the Village of Los Carneros in Goleta.

Executive director John Fowler recognized some of the guests for their support over the years including Wells Fargo, California Coalition for Rural Housing, Montecito Bank and Trust, and CSA Architects. Fowler had a special thank you for Santa Barbara County Supervisor Salud Carbajal, without whose support, he noted, many projects would not have happened. He also acknowledged Goleta City Council member Mike Bennett for his input regarding the Los Carneros Project.

Deanna Castillo, a resident of Casas de las Flores, spoke both eloquently and from the heart in sharing how the opportunity to reside in affordable housing has enabled her and her family to now lead a safe, independent, healthy, and happy life.

Similarly, Daniel Maldonado, who now works as the supervisor of PSHH’s after-school program, the Youth Education Enhancement Program (YEEP), recounted how about 13 years ago, he came as a child with his family of eight from Mexico to Santa Maria. After many nights of the entire family sleeping in his aunt’s living room, the family was offered affordable housing through PSHH. He shared his gratitude not only for the housing, but for the tremendous educational programs in which he and his family participated and which are responsible for his success today.

For more information about Peoples’ Self-Help Housing, go to

By Gail Arnold

Mark Rasmussen and Clyde Freeman.

By Gail Arnold

Santa Barbara County Supervisor Salud Carbajal and Goleta City Councilmember Michael Bennett.

By Gail Arnold

Executive director John Fowler expresses gratitude to the guests.

By Gail Arnold

Deeanna Castillo (right) a PSHH tenant who spoke at the event and her sister, Denise Jaimes-Villanueva.

By Gail Arnold

Board member Tensie Hernandez (right) with Dennis Apel.

By Gail Arnold

YEEP supervisor Daniel Maldonado and literacy educator Olivia Lunar Guizar.

By Gail Arnold

Board president David Gustafson, his wife Nancy Gustafson, and executive director John Fowler.

By Gail Arnold

Mark Rasmussen, his wife Sheri Rasmussen, Lori Saito, and Morgen Benevedo, director of multi-family housing development.

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