For 35 years, Transition House has been providing interim housing solutions for thousands of homeless women and families from its digs on Cota Street. This Tuesday, the Santa Barbara City Council agreed to loan the nonprofit $1.3 million so that it can purchase three residential properties located at 817 Salsipuedes Street. The plan is that each of the homes will be remodeled to create multiple housing units for families in need.
In approving the loan, the council grappled with concerns raised by Anna Marie Gott, an outspoken council watchdog, that City Hall is effectively creating new homeless housing by taking away from the stock of existing workforce housing. “That’s bad policy,” she stated.
Kathleen Bauschke, longtime executive director for Transition House, disputed that assertion. The properties became vacant, she stated, when “the family matriarch” who owned the properties died. An out-of-town investor put in a bid to buy the properties, but when that deal fell out of escrow, Transition House jumped in. None of the existing tenants, Bauschke stated, were displaced to make the deal happen. Councilmember Eric Friedman noted that the city’s loan secures the properties in question as low-income housing for 90 years.