The story of the housing shortage
Limited space, overcrowding and an extreme housing shortage. While these conditions may seem familiar to current circumstances at UC Santa Barbara (UCSB), this situation spans over half a century.
“The rental market in Santa Barbara and Goleta is historically difficult,” UCSB administrators wrote in an email to students. “This year in particular, the community of Isla Vista [I.V.], where many of our students live, has also experienced a shortage of rental space.
In an IV square mile there are over 20,000 people. In its Housing and Registration section, the UCSB library classifies IV as a place of “exceptionally high population density”.
In 1954, the UCSB moved from downtown Santa Barbara to its current location in Goleta, replacing the base of a former WWII air base. From the start, population density was a concern. That year, UCSB’s target population was 2,500 students. Four years later, when UCSB officially became part of the University of California (UC) system, it grew to 10,000.
“[This] resulted in a massive construction of apartment buildings in Isla Vista, ”said the Ancient History section of the UCSB library. “From 1954 to 1970, [I.V.] grew from a residential population of 350 to 11,600 people.
In the 1960s, the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors announced that IV would not need to follow most housing standards or zoning guidelines, which writer Patrick Sheehan of The Bottom Line (TBL ) claimed to be due to the desire of landowners to “extract maximum profit”. of the region. Coupled with a federal tax shelter that encouraged investment in apartments, Building IV skyrocketed.
“The area has grown rapidly without regard to long-term community interests,” said the UCSB library housing section.
By the 1970s, a housing crisis at UCSB had emerged.
“The problem exists – it is a fact,” wrote Lorie Bacon, then director of the Isla Vista Planning Commission, in 1975 for the Daily Nexus. “[There’s] a serious shortage of social housing in Santa Barbara, Goleta and [I.V.]. “
At the time of the article, Francisco Torres (now known as “FT” or Santa Catalina) had just opened, offering rooms to students in need of housing. Bacon commented that Torres was booked with a “substantial waiting list”. For rental companies like Embarcadero Company and Income Property Management, open spaces seemed just as rare.
“Apparently, companies recognize the conditions of overcrowding by encouraging them,” Bacon wrote. “Unfortunately, it has become the necessity of the situation.”
UCSB administration forecasted an enrollment count of 4,079, but Bacon said the figure could have risen to 5,000 students. Today, recent estimates place the student body above 26,000.
As demand has grown, UCSB says campus enrollment is not the problem at hand. Rather, they claim the pandemic has exacerbated three issues: the desirable location of IVs, less dense housing situations, and the uncertainty of student housing over fall 2021.
“On-campus enrollment has not exceeded the three-quarters average of 25,000 students on campus,” UCSB administrators wrote in the explosion of emails.
The 25,000 student measure follows the long-term development plan, which the UCSB administration implemented in 2010. It said more student housing will be built by 2025 or when the student body undergraduate will reach 25,000 students – this has not come into force.
In recent years, housing problems have persisted. In October 2014, TBL’s Lizeth Pompa described how the community housing office was “inundated with students” in need of housing at the end of September.
“As many as 300 students were homeless,” Pompa wrote. “[I.V.] faced the most tense real estate market in years in September, according to analysts in Santa Barbara.
Seven years later, the hotels offered a temporary solution to 349 students in need of housing. By the end of the fall term, these students are expected to find permanent accommodation, leaving even more unanswered questions following the housing shortage in 2021.
For more information on the current shortage, see the following TBL articles here and here.