A Southern Santa Barbara County Schools and Unions coalition is urging local leaders to approve affordable housing projects.
The group includes the Santa Barbara Unified School District, the Santa Barbara Teachers Association, the California School Employees Association, the Hope Elementary School District, the Hope District Teachers Association, the Goleta Union School District, and the United Teaching Profession of Goleta.
The group will send a letter to the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors and speak at the Housing Element meeting on Tuesday, February 14. They will also be addressing the cities of Santa Barbara and Goleta as well.
“We know solutions aren’t easy, there is always a reason not to move forward with certain projects. However, the lack of development is creating a crisis for our schools. It’s harder than ever to recruit and retain employees,” the coalition wrote in the letter.
The group says while it’s always been expensive to live in the Santa Barbara area, it’s becoming impossible for many due to the soaring cost of living.
The group is advocating for affordable housing projects targeted to help workers of all income levels.
“When considering approval for housing, we urge you to prioritize and mandate the considerable inclusion of affordable workforce housing units beyond the requirements for low-income units,” the group wrote in a letter. “Equitable, affordable housing projects are essential to any path forward for South Coast housing.”
Due to the cost of living in Santa Barbara, some employees commute from as far as Camarillo and Arroyo Grande. The high cost of living was also a top concern during a recent Staff Listening Tour at Santa Barbara Unified.
The group wrapped up its letter by saying the housing crisis makes it difficult to recruit and retain highly qualified workers.
“We know many of you are parents in our district and count on us to deliver on the promise of an exemplary education, so we urge you to prioritize your children, our children, and our community and heed the call for help to support affordable housing,” the coalition said.
A copy of the letter being sent to the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors and other local government agencies is below.