Is City-Worker Housing Legal?

Santa Barbara City Council approved 7-0 a plan by the public Housing Authority to pursue development of exclusive housing at Carrillo and 101 on taxpayer-owned land with taxpayer funding. Residents of units would benefit from the Housing Authority’s exemption from paying property taxes while receiving equitable City Fire, Police, ambulance, and other services at the expense of property tax payers: you and me.

The housing would target, prioritize, people who are employees of government and nonprofit organizations in the city, and people who are RV parking clients of New Beginnings Counseling Center.

Is this legal? Aren’t tax-subsidized public housing units to be open to all income qualified persons on a first-come, first-submitted-application basis?

Moreover, is the city going to subsidize creation of housing units exempt from property tax using below-market tax-exempt financing for those of us in the private sector?

Mind you, this planned development is not specialized housing for vets, disabled persons, homeless, or seniors whereby bond or HUD funding is voter earmarked accordingly.

Does the city have discretionary legal authority to cherry-pick government and nonprofit workers for new tax-subsidized housing that requires our money but excludes us? Private sector workers, including journalists, are in need of new housing, are paid much less, and are without the mental security of a government pension.

This seems wrong.


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