Community Plan


Latest News

We are currently initiating a series of meetings with our neighbors and with others in the community to work together to address some concerns that have been raised about the Community Plan and find creative solutions that truly work for everyone.

We've updated this web page with more information and will continue to do so, as we move forward.

Please feel free to contact us with any questions about our Community Plan:

Craig Olson, Executive Director
(805) 687-0788 ext. 111
[email protected]

A Better Plan For Our Future

Hillside House has been working to ensure our future by creating our Community Plan for over a decade. The Community Plan spells out a project to develop our 23 acres, where our current facility sits, to create a thriving, diverse neighborhood that includes contemporary, adaptive housing for our residents. The Plan was developed in response to several critical needs:

• To provide contemporary housing that meets changes in state standards and provides a better home for our residents

• To provide more integration into the community for our residents

• To help provide financial stability for Hillside House in the future, to better weather changes in state and federal budgets and improve our programs and services

Recent Changes

Recently, the structure of the Community Plan was revised in significant ways to better meet our own needs, the needs of our neighbors and the greater Santa Barbara Community. On July 11, 2013 we presented an update to the Community Plan to the Santa Barbara Planning Commission and the professional city planning staff. Several concerns were expressed in the meeting, and it was clear to us that we need to work more closely with our neighbors who will be affected by the project. Honest and meaningful dialogue with the community is essential. It is part of our core vision to build community, and we feel that this is a perfect opportunity to practice and implement community dialogue and draw on the creativity and wisdom of many individuals.

Be A Friend Of Hillside House!

Are you a citizen of Santa Barbara? If so, we need your support, but we aren't asking for money! We are asking you to simply add your name as a Friend of Hillside House. Here's why: 

At this pivotal time in our history, we face a critical need to build a new facility that offers an updated model of care for our residents. In order to succeed with such an ambitious undertaking, we need to be able to demonstrate that Santa Barbara residents support the mission of Hillside House and our vision to develop a Community Plan that will allow us to continue serving that mission while also meeting the needs of the Santa Barbara community. 

While the final form of the Community Plan is still to be worked out with neighbors, city planners and others, as a Friend of Hillside House you will be expressing your support for Hillside House and our Community Plan at a crucial time in our history by adding your name. 

Will you be a Friend of Hillside House? 

To join us now, click here

Reaching Out To Our Community

Community Plan

Over the next couple of months, we will be initiating dialogue and problem-solving conversations to address neighbors’ concerns. We will be holding a series of meetings with neighbors and with others in the community to help us find a version of our Community Plan that addresses the needs and concerns of all involved.

Our previous decision about the scale of the Community Plan was based on detailed financial calculation on what was needed to attract a bank loan and/or investors, and what the project would need in income, once completed, in order to pay off the construction loans. We are open to all viable solutions that meet the many needs our Plan must address.

We have been blessed in our 68-year history here to have been supported by many individuals and businesses in Santa Barbara, who recognize that a healthy society provides for all of its members and takes care of those who are less-advantaged. We will continue to refine the Community Plan, taking into account such things as the need for affordable housing for Santa Barbara working families and senior citizens, while providing for the members of our community with developmental disabilities now and long into the future.

We know that the Santa Barbara community includes the expertise, vision and wisdom necessary to create a version of the Community Plan that is a true benefit to our residents, our neighborhood and all of Santa Barbara. We are excited to develop that solution in partnership with our neighbors and our community and to create a model of care for people with developmental disabilities that others could follow.

We invite meaningful dialogue, creative solutions, and inquiries. If you would like to be a part of the solution, please contact us at Craig Olson, Executive Director, (805) 687-0788 ext. 111, [email protected]

Meeting The Needs Of Our Residents and Our Community

Community Plan

Hillside House desperately needs to create new housing for our residents. Our existing institutional facility is outdated and deteriorating. Likewise, the Santa Barbara community needs affordable rental housing. We know that the final, approved version of the Plan will include:

10 six-bed units for Hillside House residents, specifically-designed for their needs.
Some of the other benefits the Community Plan has been designed to provide are:

Affordable housing for working families and/or seniors
Preservation of open space, the Arroyo Burro creek and community trails to enjoy the natural beauty of the land
Attractive neighborhood housing and landscaping
We are looking now for creative solutions for the remainder of the project that will:

Address concerns about traffic impact
Provide additional benefit to the community
Be financially viable
House our residents in a way that provides an integrated community and greater independence
Continue to provide immediate access to centralized medical, therapeutic and enrichment services for our residents

Caring for People with Developmental Disabilities 

State mandates and best practices for providing care and housing for people with disabilities have changed in recent years. State funders are beginning to require that large providers like Hillside House care for people with disabilities in smaller group homes that are integrated into the neighborhood, rather than in large facilities. However, given the level of disability of our residents and their medical needs, they need immediate access to 24-hour nursing care, and they thrive best in close proximity to a central facility that can provide the many group activities that are a regular part of our week. This posed a unique challenge in coming up with a Community Plan that would provide them greater independence, privacy, and integration into the broader community without taking away the rich community life at Hillside House and the many life-enriching programs and life-sustaining services we provide.

Residents and their families express relief and happiness when they finally find Hillside House because the level of care, the amount and variety of activities, and the rich community life we provide are rare for people with moderate to severe disabilities. We must find a Plan that continues to provide these benefits and even improves upon them, while helping others in the broader community benefit from contact with our residents. Volunteers and staff at Hillside House tell us frequently of the extraordinary love and learning they receive from being with our residents. These gifts are something from which all people can benefit.

An Integrated Neighborhood & Desirable Place to Live

So far, we've created a project on our 23-acre site that takes advantage of the natural setting and offers amenities for our residents and future tenants alike, a place that better integrates our residents into the community and is close to the services they require to live the fullest of lives, a place of natural beauty and affordability that will be a desirable place to live for all. The most recent version of the Plan includes:

77% Open-Space: Natural undisturbed land, attractive landscaping, inviting common areas, public trails, restored Arroyo Burro Creek

Hillside House Facilities: Activity Center, 24-hour health care, administrative building
Tenant Amenities: Community pool, shared common areas, gardens, ample parking

Community Plan Architect's Rendering of Proposed Housing

Financially Feasible & Beneficial

Community Plan

This proposal represents the wisest and best use of the assets Hillside House has had for over six decades. Owning our land allows us to finance the project without a for-profit developer and the income from the rental units satisfies the needs of a lender to fund the building the project. The future income, once the project is paid off, will allow Hillside House to invest in programs that will benefit people with developmental disabilities for generations to come.

• Maintain full ownership of Hillside House's land
• No private developer
• Generates income to ensure future financial stability for Hillside House

Meanwhile, we are actively looking at all options for how best to use this asset, our land, and provide for our residents and our community in the place they call home.

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