This week, Opportunity Fund’s New Market Tax Credits program closed on $9,568,778 in low-interest financing to help renovate one of the largest providers of homeless housing and services in the Santa Barbara area – the Santa Barbara Rescue Mission (SBRM). Once renovated, this organization is projected to better serve an estimated 1,600 unique low-income individuals annually.
Over the last 50 years, Santa Barbara Rescue Mission has grown in its ability to supply residency-based programs aimed at breaking the cycle of alcohol and drug dependency, serving the mentally ill, teaching life skills, and providing residents with supportive services to maintain long-term, sustained independence. Unfortunately, because of the dilapidated condition of the aging facility, SBRM faced challenges in managing the growth of its programs. Opportunity Fund provided $9.57MM in financing for the renovation of the facility to meet the need.
Caring for Vulnerable Populations
The SBRM is located in a community where the poverty rate is 23% and median income is 58% of area median income. SBRM is the only emergency shelter that is open 365 nights of the year between Santa Maria and Ventura, providing emergency services and long-term recovery for the homeless and the addicted. In 2016, it provided 143,051 meals and 51,627 safe nights of shelter for individuals with no place else to turn.
Supporting Job Creation
Once renovated, these health clinics will retain or support 56 full-time equivalent jobs. In addition, 50% of Santa Barbara Rescue Mission's staff have historically been graduates of its programs and were low-income themselves when hired. The graduates of SBRM's programs often face barriers to employment such as intermittent work history, past incarceration, legal, and credit issues. Most directors have been promoted internally, and one current director was originally a client themselves.
The financing of this project represents Opportunity Fund’s continuing commitment to support our nation’s low income communities. This project represents our sixth homeless services project, and we are proud to have provided $79.14 million in low interest financing for these projects to address homelessness in our communities. For more information about Opportunity Fund’s New Markets Tax Credits program, please visit our website.
“We are honored to be providing the financing for the renovation of this critically-needed community facility. This marks the sixth homeless facility Opportunity Fund has financed with New Markets Tax Credits.
With this new facility, the Santa Barbara Rescue Mission will be able to providing a wide array of services to more than 1600 homeless community residents. To get an idea of how important their services are, consider that the average age of the Rescue Mission’s woman clients is 59 years. The Rescue Mission’s clients truly have no where else to go.”
- Jeff Wells, VP, New Markets Director at Opportunity Fund