Project Title:2015 - 2023 Housing Element Program 2.8 - Transitional and Supportive Housing
Case Number: (None)                                
Project Location:Countywide Program
Assigned Staff and Division:

Jessica Steele, Long Range Planning Division


On February 3, 2015, the County Board of Supervisors adopted the 2015-2023 Housing Element Update of the Comprehensive Plan. The Housing Element Update includes 37 programs to implement its goals and address the housing needs of unincorporated Santa Barbara County. The County Planning and Development Department's (P&D) Fiscal Year 2016-2017 Annual Work Program includes the implementation of Housing Element Program 2.8 - Transitional and Supportive Housing.


Transitional and supportive housing are types of affordable and special needs housing linked to to supportive (social) services. These housing types and accompanying services are designed to help individuals with low incomes and one or more disabilities find stable housing and live fuller lives.

Planning and Development staff is preparing zoning ordinance amendments to implement Program 2.8 of the Housing Element Update. Program 2.8 states:

The County shall evaluate and amend as appropriate the County Land Use and Development Code (LUDC), Montecito Land Use and Development Code (MLUDC), and Coastal Zoning Ordinance (CZO) to be consistent with Government Code sections 65582 and 65583(a)(5), Senate Bill 745, and Senate Bill 2 regarding transitional and supportive housing. In particular, the County will amend the zoning ordinances to include definitions of transitional and supportive housing, consider transitional and supportive housing to be a residential use, and explicitly permit transitional and supportive housing subject only to those zoning regulations that apply to other residential dwellings of the same type in the same zone.

Government Code Section 65582 contains definitions of "transitional housing," "supportive housing," and "target population."  Government Code Section 65583(a)(5) states: "Transitional housing and supportive housing shall be considered a residential use of property, and shall be subject only to those restrictions that apply to other residential dwellings of the same type in the same zone."

To effectuate Program 2.8 and comply with state law, the County proposes to amend the Montecito Land Use and Development Code (MLUDC), the County Land Use and Development Code (LUDC), and the Coastal Zoning Ordinance (CZO). The proposed ordinance amendments will add definitions of transitional and supportive housing and allow these housing types as residential uses, subject only to those regulations that apply to other dwellings of the same type in the same zone.

Please see the "Frequently Asked Questions" below for more information.

Timeline  |  Past Hearings

Coastal Commission 

December 14, 2017

Board of Supervisors

June 20, 2017

Planning Commission

May 3, 2017

Additional Information

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What is transitional and supportive housing?
    Supportive housing is permanent rental housing linked to a range of supportive (social) services designed to enable residents to maintain stable housing and lead fuller lives.

    Transitional housing is a type of supportive housing used to facilitate the movement of people experiencing homelessness into permanent housing. A person experiencing homelessness may live in a transitional apartment for up to two years while receiving supportive services that enable independent living.

    The defining characteristic of both transitional and supportive housing is the requirement that residents be members of a target population, meaning they must be persons with low incomes who have one or more disabilities. Examples of target populations include adults, emancipated minors, families with children, elderly persons, young adults aging out of the foster care system, individuals exiting from institutional settings, veterans, and homeless people.

    Government Code Section 65582 contains formal definitions of target population, transitional housing, and supportive housing.

  2. How is transitional and supportive housing different from other types of affordable housing?
    The main difference between transitional and supportive housing and other types of affordable housing is the link to supportive services. These services may be delivered on-site, in the community, or both. Some examples of supportive services include, but are not limited to, a combination of subsidized, permanent housing, intensive case management, medical and mental health care, substance abuse treatment, employment services, and benefits advocacy.

  3. What does transitional and supportive housing look like?
    Transitional and supportive housing comes in many forms and often looks like existing housing in the surrounding neighborhood. They may include single-family homes, duplexes, or apartments. Blending into a residential setting and appearing like a normal home is key because transitional and supportive housing often serves individuals and families that have been displaced from their former homes.

  4. Is there a need for this type of housing?
    In January 2015, Common Ground Santa Barbara and the Central Coast Collaborative on Homelessness conducted a survey and counted 1,455 homeless persons in the cities and unincorporated areas of the county. Of those individuals, 37 percent said they were living in shelters or transitional housing. These figures reflect a community need for transitional and supportive housing. These housing types would help address the needs of the homeless and other target populations due to their prerequisites of affordability and provision of supportive services designed to facilitate independent living.