Jackson Introduces Bill to Encourage Building of Innovative, Affordable Housing for Seniors

March 29, 2017

SACRAMENTO – Inspired by Rona Barrett’s efforts building the Golden Inn and Village, a housing project for low-income seniors in Solvang in Santa Barbara County, Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson (D-Santa Barbara) has introduced a bill to encourage the building of similar affordable housing projects for seniors statewide.

Senate Bill 62, the Affordable Senior Housing Act of 2017, would create an Affordable Senior Housing Program within the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development (Go-Biz), a one-stop shop to guide housing projects from conception to completion, and assist in obtaining permits, finding private and public funding sources, suitable locations, and working cooperatively with local, state and federal agencies to move projects forward.

“When I saw the inspiring work done by Rona Barrett through the building of the Golden Inn and Village, the first thought I had was, why not replicate this important work statewide,“ said Jackson.  “California must prepare itself for a tsunami of aging residents as baby boomers turn 65 and our senior population grows. We need to ensure that we have adequate and innovative senior housing that meets the social, emotional, and economic needs of residents. Projects like these won’t just serve the needs of our seniors, they will also provide jobs for caregivers and staff, and serve as an economic boon to their area.”

The Golden Inn and Village opened its doors last year. Spearheaded by entrepreneur and former gossip columnist Rona Barrett, it was funded through a mix of public and private funds and provides housing units for low-income seniors with services that meet their needs as they age. It is particularly aimed at a population of orphaned seniors, those who have no family members available to care for them. It also includes affordable staff housing, a community center and gardens, and will eventually include assisted living, memory care, adult day care, and hospice, so that residents can ‘age in place.’

More than 20 percent of California’s population will be 65 years or older by 2030. California’s baby boomers are turning 65 years of age at the highest rate in the nation. Those who are 85 years of age or older are the fastest growing segment of the United States population.

SB 62 will also require an annual report to the Legislature on the number and location of senior housing units developed through the program, as well as the challenges and successes encountered in the process. 

A hearing for SB 62 has not yet been scheduled.

Jackson represents the 19th Senate District, which includes all of Santa Barbara County and western Ventura County.

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