WEV Connects events bring together successful and aspiring local business owners

WEV Connects events bring together successful and aspiring local business owners

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wev connectsSuccessful local business owners and WEV Clients inspired local entrepreneurs during their panel presentation on The Psychology of the Soloprenuer at the April 9th WEV Connects event at WEV client business Spicetopia, downtown Ventura: (left to right) Kathy Wertheim, Werth-it; Adriana Perez, Skincare by Adriana; and Laura Dunbar, The Madison Method



Over 50 WEV (Women’s Economic Ventures) clients, supporters and members of the public recently attended the second WEV Connects of the year, hosted at WEV client business Spicetopia in downtown Ventura. Guests had the opportunity to network, enjoy light refreshments and hear from three local female business owners who are WEV clients, sharing the secrets (and the challenges) to their success during the panel on The Psychology of the Solopreneur.

“We created the ‘WEV Connects’ networking series based on feedback from clients who wanted to connect with other WEV clients and the business community while learning from fellow entrepreneurs,” said Leah Gonzales, WEV Program Manager and WEV’s Women’s Business Center Director. “We’re getting a great response from attendees to this format that combines the panel presentation, questions and answers, with time for networking.”

Panelist Laura Dunbar is the owner of The Madison Method and has made it her mission to create an alternative to the typical remodel and home improvement process. Adriana Perez of Skincare by Adriana has found success as an esthetician, helping clients achieve beautiful and healthy skin; and Kathy Wertheim, founder of Werth-It, who helps nonprofits raise more money in less time at a lower cost.

WEV Connects events are free and open to the public. The next WEV Connects event is being scheduled for this summer.

WEV is now holding free 1-hour orientations for upcoming business training programs, for women and men who want to start or expand a business. April and May orientations facilitated by Program Coordinators Evelina Ochoa (Ventura County) and Claire Anderson (Santa Barbara County) include:

  • Downtown Oxnard: Thursday, April 16th , 6-7 p.m.
  • Ventura: Tuesday, April 21st, 12-1 p.m.
  • Santa Barbara: Thursday, April 15th , 12-1 p.m.
  • Santa Barbara: Thursday, April 30th , 6-7 p.m.
  • Santa Barbara: Wednesday, May 6th, 12-1 p.m

To register or for more information, visit www.wevonline.org.

Women’s Economic Ventures has provided entrepreneurial training, loans and consulting to over 4,500 women and men throughout Santa Barbara and Ventura Counties, helping more than 3,000 local businesses start or expand since 1991. As a non-profit community lender, WEV has made more than $3.7 million in loans to small businesses.


People’s Self-Help Housing: New Funding Models Will Test South Coast Housing Market

People’s Self-Help Housing: New Funding Models Will Test South Coast Housing Market


New funding models will test South Coast housing market

By Erika Martin   /   Friday, April 17th, 2015  /   No Comments

Even though it took nearly a decade to complete, Cottage Health System’s Bella Riviera still one of the few examples of employer-developed housing on the South Coast. And it’s a model that’s helped clear a path for others trying to fill a gap in one of the nation’s least affordable housing markets.

The approval process for Cottage Health System’s Bella Riviera affordable housing project was described as “long and gruesome” at the recent Santa Barbara Housing Conference.

At the conference, held April 10 at the Carrillo Recreation Center, architect Brian Cearnal quipped that he got old designing the project.

Even though it took nearly a decade to complete, it’s still one of the few examples of employer-developed housing on the South Coast. And it’s a model that’s helped clear a path for others trying to fill a gap in one of the nation’s least affordable housing markets.

Recently, the largest developer of affordable housing on the Central Coast, Peoples’ Self-Help Housing, and architect Detty Peikert of  Peikert + RRM Design Group teamed up to develop a new affordable housing development model. At the same time, the Housing Trust of Santa Barbara has launched a new down payment loan fund aimed specifically at South County homebuyers. The two programs could potentially be used in tandem, but heavy buy-in from employers large and small is needed to make them work.

Nestled in the hills of Santa Barbara’s Riviera neighborhood, Bella Riviera is a collection of 115 townhomes, villas and cottages. Sweeping views of the coastline are visible from the two- and three-story Spanish and craftsman homes. A majority of the complex — 81 units — is designated as affordable housing and Cottage employees from Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital, Goleta Valley Cottage Hospital, and Pacific Diagnostic Laboratories all call it home.

“We had a really tough time with turnover back in the early 2000s,” said Ron Biscaro, vice president of housing and real estate development for Cottage Health System. “It runs about 7 to 8 percent on average, but our housing issues turnover is now only about 1 percent.”

Cottage formed the Villa Riviera Real Estate Co., a for-profit subsidiary of the Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital Foundation, in 2010 to manage housing development and work with its existing mortgage assistance program. That made a big difference in how Cottage’s employees could qualify for the units, Biscaro said. Cottage also signed an affordability covenant with the city, which drove its policy process, he added.

The cost to build Bella Riviera, including the land, was about $59 million, which included a $12 million subsidy. That put net sales at about $47 million, creating a per unit subsidy for buyers of about $150,000.

Biscaro said the project included a lot of hand holding with mostly first-time buyers and concerns employees didn’t want to live together all in one place.

“We needed strong collaboration with the city, our staff and lenders,” Biscaro said. “That made a great three-legged stool to make sure people got what they wanted.”

While employers like Cottage have the resources to build large-scale projects, small- to medium-sized companies are for the most part left scratching their heads.

That’s where Peoples’ Self-Help Housing and the model that Peikert developed step in. The model aims to create limited partnerships in which the employer becomes an investor to raise the capital required for a project. In this scenario, a portion of the employers’ equity is passed on to each employee as a buyer, and Peoples’ Self-Help Housing acts as the general partner in the project and assumes most of the risk.

“When you start to talk about … selling or renting units for less than market [value], you start to lose the for-profit environment,” said John Fowler, executive director of Peoples’ Self-Help Housing. “It seemed as though the nonprofit area is exactly where this program needs to rest.”

Peikert and Fowler are collaborating on a $6 million, 14-unit project in downtown Santa Barbara, making use of the city’s Average Unit Density program, which allows developers to build up to 63 units per acre instead of the usual 35.

Peikert estimates the condos could be priced at about $490,000 for employees, and even cheaper if the employer partners leave their equity share in the project. With an estimated mortgage of around $2,500 per month, Peikert said that’s likely cheaper than rent.

With the additional ability for buyers to access the Housing Trust of Santa Barbara County’s new fund, home ownership could be in reach for more people. The new $2.5 million fund would look to make about 25 loans, up to $100,000 each, for workforce homebuyers who need help with down payments.

– See more at: http://www.pacbiztimes.com/2015/04/17/new-funding-models-will-test-south-coast-housing-market/#sthash.z8DJUZVg.dpuf

People’s Self-Help Housing: Lottery Drawing for Affordable Housing

People’s Self-Help Housing: Lottery Drawing for Affordable Housing


Source: Peoples’ Self-Help Housing

Peoples’ Self-Help Housing held a lottery drawing Thursday April 16 for applicants wishing to live in the all-new Casas de las Flores affordable housing complex, which will open September 2015 in Carpinteria with 43 town house-style apartments.

Carpinteria Mayor Gregg Carty pulled applicant lottery numbers individually from a tumbler during the drawing — held live at Peoples’ Dahlia Court II affordable housing complex, 1305 Dahlia Court in Carpinteria. The lottery drawing determined the order in which interested parties, who have submitted a pre-application, will have their application processed for a Casas de las Flores apartment.

Casas de las Flores will feature a community room, youth education classroom and computer room, playgrounds, a half-court basketball court, walking paths and more.

“It’s a beautiful apartment complex, but it’s really much more than that, too,” said Joe Thompson, Chief Operating Officer for The Duncan Group, the property management division of Peoples’ Self- Help Housing. “The sense of community and having a safe and healthy home really speaks to the mission of Peoples’ Self-Help Housing.”

Approximately 350 households applied to live at Casas de las Flores and were part of Thursday’s drawing. Many watched as Mayor Carty drew the names.

Casas de las Flores is currently under construction at 4096 Via Real in Carpinteria, the former site of the Carpinteria Camper Park. Peoples’ purchased the extremely blighted camper park from an absentee landlord more than a decade ago and successfully located replacement housing for the 80 households who were living in very poor conditions on the property. After years of preparation, Peoples’ broke ground on the project in April 2014.

PSHH Lottery




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