Santa Barbara South Coast Chamber of Commerce Launches Roadmap to Recovery – The Road Home
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The Santa Barbara South Coast Chamber of Commerce is dedicated to the economic health and vitality of communities from Goleta to Carpinteria on the South Coast of Santa Barbara County. The Chamber works to help businesses, residents, and visitors thrive by advocating for responsible public policy, offering networking and community-building opportunities, providing access to business development resources, and supporting visitor services across the region.
The COVID-19 Pandemic brought massive and unforeseen impacts to the business community in Santa Barbara County, in California, across the United States, and worldwide. The Chamber developed plans and action steps to help get businesses, large and small, reopened safely and focused on long-term recovery strategies through Phase I and Phase II of the Roadmap to Recovery. This work aligns with the Chamber’s mission, passion, and expertise.
Now that our collective focus has shifted to meaningful recovery, revitalization, and long-term job growth, the Chamber is launching the third phase of its Roadmap to Recovery: The Road Home.
Santa Barbara South Coast Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Kristen Miller states “The Chamber has been one of the most effective advocates for housing on the south coast for nearly two decades. The thorough, detailed, consensus-based feedback we have provided has resulted in the successful addition of various housing types. We have also advocated for additional executive, or move up housing, as well as dorm-style or boarding house concepts that have yet to be realized.”
The foundational principals of the plan include addressing the changing business environment, the need for diverse housing types, the goal of having people live where the work, lessons from past disasters, homelessness, student housing, short- and long-term policies on housing, and community partnerships from business, education, and government to non-profit agencies, affordable housing proponents, and environmental and social justice advocates.
Over the past two decades, the Chamber has recognized and advocated for workforce housing as a critical piece to our region’s economic development; supported development projects that maintain the identity of our communities while allowing more flexibility in local housing development; worked to secure partnerships with local businesses and developers to create workforce housing programs available for employees of local companies; advocated for policies that would streamline development, not create barriers; and continued to advocate for projects in progress.
“As a community leader, the Chamber plays a critical role in the conversation. Never before has the south coast experienced a time when social justice and housing organizations and the business community aligned so closely with the need for housing in our communities,” said Joey Zumaya, Head of Nonprofit Enterprise Sales and Strategy for North America at LinkedIn and Chairman of the Board for the Chamber.
We are facing a housing crisis, due to years and years of not building enough housing. We cannot, as a region, ignore this issue any longer. All the while, we are relying on people to commute long distances for more affordable housing, losing intellectual talent to other states, forfeiting business growth because employers cannot find housing for the people they want to hire, forcing multiple generations to share properties, and preventing future generations from being able to live and thrive in Santa Barbara County. These consequences set our local businesses back from being able to make other investments in our local economy.
Through concepts like employer-sponsored housing, adaptive reuse of underutilized properties, and expeditious support for new developments, the housing supply will increase creating opportunities to meet demand and affordability. We are calling on our community leaders—from those elected to represent us, to those who work in and lead the businesses we frequent, to the non-profit leaders, and our neighbors, to sign onto The Road Home Pledge to plan for and support the production of 10,000 new units in varying sizes and price ranges by 2033.