Artisan Court Provides Opportunities for Affordable Housing


Allison Ly
Photo By: Andrew Gonzales

Fifty five studio apartments at Artisan Court, in Santa Barbara, provide young adults from 18-21 years of age, individuals who may be disabled or formerly homeless and low income downtown workers, affordable housing. The Artisan provides services to help its tenants gain independence and skills to attain permanent housing.

Artisan Court’s development was funded by the Housing Authority of the City of Santa Barbara, working with other agencies, such as the YMCA and PathPoint to assist their tenants in becoming part of the community.

“We see our role as eviction prevention. We can help people deal with issues that might get them evicted and that will help prevent any problems. [With] good tenants everybody is happy and it keeps thing cost effective,” Jennifer Newbold, Vice President of PathPoint Mental Health Services, said.

Through counseling, job training, life skills training and other services, tenants learn to live independently. Based on their income, tenants pay a certain percentage of rent, which ranges from $408 and $817 a month.

“‘My Home’ is the name of the program for the 15 studio apartments that 18-21 year olds can live there for 18 months and get support [transitioning out of foster care and into apartments]. Some of that is rental assistance and case management support helping them develop a budget building some life skills, how to apply for a job,” Mark Watson, Associate Executive Director of Youth and Family Services, YMCA, said.

The young adults may meet with on-site case mangers one to three times a week to work on making their larger goals into smaller ones to be more attainable.

“[On-site case managers] work with them one-on-one and also do group workshops. [We] partner with different agencies to utilize their resources; we are working with Food Bank and SBCC to [set up] cooking classes,” Watson said.

While still in school and focusing on their long term educational goals, young adults leaving foster care, may not have the income to pay for their complete rent.

“There was a grand jury report a few years ago that said the foster youth were homeless after six months after emancipation and those disturbing figures were the catalyst for these programs,” Mark Watson, Associate Executive Director of Youth and Family Services, YMCA said.

The Artisan Court is important factor in helping these young adults as well as other parts of the community learn how to live successfully on their own.

“One of PathPoint’s main focuses is rehabilitation and helping people create avenues for their own support. We want to promote independence, not dependence. We help them learn skills such as navigating a bus to get a sense of competency. We want to give people a chance [to live independently],” Newbold said.

All tenants were chosen by application through the Housing Authority, followed by screenings and interviews.

“[We] did screenings [to make sure] people wanted [to live at the Artisan] for the right reasons. [The tenants] need to take seriously; this is not a place where they can live and not work on their goals,” Watson said.

Grants and other funds will keep the Artisan running.

“The creative part of our job is to find resources where people can get help without paying,” Newbold said. Internships may be created to help tenants get free resources while also benefiting the internees.

The studio apartments were furnished through a program called “Adopt-a-Room” with Second Story Associate, a Public Benefit Corporation. According to Second Story’s website, a donation of $350 provides a studio apartment with the basic household necessities to help tenants transition into their home with ease.

No matter who the tenants are, this is a learning process for both the tenants at Artisan Court, learning to live on their own, and for the workers finding different methods to tenants with help without them developing dependency.

“People live independently [at the Artisan],” Newbold said. “They have their own home but if they need something there is always someone for them to
turn to.”