It’s not often that we have a U.S. Secretary come to town, which is why August 25 was a particularly exciting day. U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Marcia L. Fudge came to Santa Barbara County for the day and packed a lot into her visit. Here is a short video recap: https://youtu.be/8j7oSEizRPs.
Her day started with a press conference, followed by a quarterly meeting with Santa Barbara County mayors and city managers to discuss affordable housing and homelessness. Her visit ended with a tour of two HUD assisted community sites (one in Goleta and the other in Santa Barbara). The Secretary was joined by U.S. Representative Salud Carbajal, California Secretary of Business, Consumer Services and Housing Agency Lourdes Castro Ramirez, the Santa Barbara County CEO Mona Miyasato, Supervisors Das Williams and Joan Hartmann along with eight city mayors and city managers, housing officials and other local leaders from across Santa Barbara County.
The press conference held at Direct Relief in Santa Barbara was where the Secretary announced that $115 million of federal funding would be allocated to the State of California to address the storms of 2023. She said, “We know you have been hit hard, many times. We know that you are very resilient, but we also know that we have a responsibility to help as much as we can.” View the press conference here: https://youtu.be/oW5UXs6dwzA.
Following the press conference, the Secretary attended a roundtable discussion at a quarterly meeting with Santa Barbara County mayors, city managers and other local leaders, to talk about the housing issues facing Santa Barbara County and the work being done to help those experiencing homelessness and those searching for affordable housing. Since the meeting this quarter was hosted by the City of Goleta, Mayor Paula Perotte had the honor of introducing Secretary Fudge to the group. She said, “This is an important discussion today because we are all struggling with the concerns and impacts of housing insecurity and homelessness, and the lack of affordable options for our workforces. We are all working to alleviate and address the impacts of homelessness and maximize affordable housing.” The meeting was moderated by former City of Santa Barbara Mayor Helene Schneider who is the Senior Regional Advisor for the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness.
The next stop was a short drive down the road to the Buena Tierra Permanent Supportive Housing development in the 6000 block of Hollister Avenue in Old Town Goleta scheduled to open this fall. Buena Tierra is a 60-unit permanent supportive housing development for people experiencing chronic homelessness, homelessness and homeless youth or youth at risk of homelessness. Director of Housing Development at the Housing Authority of the County of Santa Barbara, John Polansky took Secretary Fudge on a tour of the facility under construction and showed all it will have to offer.
Following that tour, the Secretary went to the Gardens on Hope affordable senior housing project for very low- and low-income seniors in Santa Barbara. All tenants receive HUD housing vouchers. Rob Fredericks, Executive Director/CEO Housing Authority of the City of Santa Barbara, led the tour of the 89-unit housing community. Afterwards, Secretary Fudge met with several residents there.
We thank Secretary Fudge for coming to visit Santa Barbara County and for her commitment to help address and find solutions to the housing crisis in our country.
About Secretary Marcia L. Fudge:
Secretary Fudge is the 18th Secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Throughout her career, Secretary Fudge has worked to help low-income families, seniors, and communities across the country. She has served as U.S. Representative for the 11th Congressional District of Ohio. She was a member of several Congressional Caucuses and past Chair of the Congressional Black Caucus. She was the first female and first African American mayor of Warrensville Heights, Ohio.
Secretary Fudge’s career in public service began in the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor’s Office, rising to the rank of Director of Budget and Finance. She earned her bachelor’s degree in business from The Ohio State University and law degree from the Cleveland State University Cleveland-Marshall School of Law. She is a Past National President of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., and a member of its Greater Cleveland Alumnae Chapter.
HUD’s mission is to create strong, sustainable, inclusive communities and quality affordable homes for all. More information about HUD and its programs is available at www.hud.gov.
Pictured above: Secretary Fudge speaking at the press conference held at Direct Relief