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What is Affordable Housing and whom does it serve?

Affordable housing means housing that does not cost more than 30 percent of a household's gross income. For example, an affordable monthly rent for a household earning $2,000 per month would be $600 (including utilities). For homeowners, affordable monthly housing expenses for a household earning $4,000 per month would be $1,200 (including mortgage payments, taxes, and condominium association fees).

The City's affordable rental housing programs are targeted to low- or very low-income households. Affordable ownership housing programs are targeted to moderate-income households. Under the City's Density Bonus Program, units are also provided for middle and upper middle income households. The maximum limits for these and other income levels are based on median income figures the federal government calculates annually for Santa Barbara County, with adjustments made for household size.

Eligibility determinations are based on total gross income (before taxes) from all household members.

Note: In 2008, HUD changed the method of setting the maximum incomes for the very-low income and low income categories in Santa Barbara County. This was done in order to adjust for the high housing costs of the area. In past years, the limit for the very-low income category was 50% of the area median income (AMI) for a given household size, and the limit for the low income category was 80%. Under the new method of calculation, HUD supplies the very-low income limits. HUD calculates the low income limits by doubling the very-low income figure and taking 80% of this doubled number. Likewise, we base the maximum rents for projects funded by our Redevelopment Agency on 60% of this doubled number. The percentages for moderate, middle and upper-middle income have not changed, and continue to be based on the AMI.