Our Community Plan

A visionary community where people with diverse needs flourish together.


For over a decade, Hillside House has been working to ensure its future and the future of its residents through the creation of our Community Plan. The Community Plan will develop our 24 acres, where our current facility sits, to create a thriving, diverse neighborhood that includes new and adaptive housing for our residents. The Community Plan was developed in response to several critical needs:

  • To meet the residential, medical and therapeutic needs of our existing mission and residents.
  • To provide contemporary housing that meets changes in state and federal standards and provides more appropriate facilities for our residents.
  • Continuing to provide centralized 24-hour medical care.
  • The need for our residents to be more fully integrated into their community.
  • To protect and enhance the environment and open space on our property.
  • Help to secure the future of Hillside House and its residents by enhancing financial stability.


Hillside House has been fortunate in its 70-year history to have been supported by many individuals, foundations and businesses in Santa Barbara, who recognize that a healthy society provides for all of its members and takes care of those who who have special needs.

We are excited to develop our Community Plan in partnership with our neighbors and the broader community, and to create a model of care for people with developmental disabilities that can provide a new standard of care.

We will soon be initiating conversations through a series of meetings with community members to  refine our Community Plan so that it addresses the needs and concerns of all involved. We invite meaningful dialogue, creative solutions and inquiries. 

If you would like to be a part of the refinement process, please contact Craig Olson at (805) 687-0788 ext. 111 or colson@hillsidehousesb.org.



Our staff, Board of Directors, and team of professionals have worked diligently to explore the possible options for the redevelopment of Hillside House. Built in 1955, our institutional facility is outdated and deteriorating. Beyond our desire to provide the best services, new state and federal regulations require smaller, more appropriate facilities for our residents that integrate individuals with developmental disabilities into their neighborhoods. Our 24-acre property gives Hillside House the opportunity to create a leading-edge community that meets the new standards of care as well as Santa Barbara’s most urgent housing needs.

The Center for MediCare & MediCaid Services (CMS) is now requiring residential facilities such as Hillside House to operate in settings that are integrated into the community, with opportunities for engagement in community life, accessibility, and control of personal resources, including, when possible, employment opportunities for the developmentally disabled. If Hillside House maintains its institutional configuration it will not be eligible for federal reimbursement, and federal reimbursement constitutes more than 85% of our annual revenue. In preparation for these regulatory changes, Hillside House’s Board of Directors has affirmed its vision of creating a diversified community that cares for everyone in it. (To see more on CMS 1915 regulations for Home and Community Based Settings, please visit: http://hcbsadvocacy.org/learn-about-the-new-rules/)

We have developed and analyzed over 20 separate development scenarios, incorporating various degrees of single-family homes, townhouses, condominiums and apartments. We place high priority on factors such as optimum land use, requirements for infrastructure, population compatibility, and on and off-site environmental considerations. Ultimately, for a plan that is viable for Hillside House residents and all non-disabled residents, our Community Plan will incorporate the following components:

  • 10 six-bed units for Hillside House residents, specifically designed for their needs
  • A certain degree of additional housing units to fulfill the level of integration required
  • Centralized 24-hour medical care, activity center, and administrative building
  • At least 75% open space and preservation of the Arroyo Burro creek with accessible community trails
  • The capital to build new facilities that will be a source of long-term financial growth and stability

We are working to find a plan that allows Hillside House to provide its residents the opportunity to attain the highest level of independence and integration into the Santa Barbara community for generations to come.