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Rona Barrett Foundation’s Golden Inn & Village Receives $23 Million in Tax Credits

Rona Barrett Foundation’s Golden Inn & Village Receives $23 Million in Tax Credits

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630-Rona_Barrett_Founation_GIV2From left, Fred Lamont, executive director of the Housing Authority of the County of Santa Barbara; Rep. Lois Capps, D-Santa Barbara; Rona Barrett, president and CEO of the Rona Barrett Foundation; and Santa Barbara County Supervisor Doreen Farr. (Rona Barrett Foundation photo)


By Kelly Kapaun for the Rona Barrett Foundation | Published on 11.08.2014

The Rona Barrett Foundation’s Golden Inn & Village received a significant boost toward its completion in the form of a $23 million tax credit. The announcement of the tax credit was made by Rep. Lois Capps, D-Santa Barbara, during a special event at Montanaro Farm in Los Olivos to honor supporters and friends of the project.

“I am so pleased that $23 million in federal tax credits will go to the Golden Inn & Village to support Central Coast seniors as envisioned by the Rona Barrett Foundation and the Housing Authority of the County of Santa Barbara,” Capps said.

Fred Lamont, the housing authority’s executive director, explained the scope of the announcement.

“This award means that for every $1 a supporter donates to the campaign for the GIV, it is estimated that $23 will be returned in community dividends in the form of local jobs, local salaries and local expenditures for equipment, transportation and supplies,” he said.

Santa Barbara County Third District Supervisor Doreen Farr, who has been a major advocate of the GIV since its inception, shared that in her experience as a supervisor, “This project has received strong and enthusiastic support from the community, county staff, the Planning Commission and the Board of Supervisors. This is a tribute to the careful planning and thought that has gone into the project from the beginning and the pressing need it will fill in the valley.”

Alice Gillaroo, chairwoman of the Campaign for the GIV, for which the Rona Barrett Foundation is in the process of raising an additional $2 million in essential funds to support the GIV project, echoed Farr’s remarks.

“What a monumental achievement these tax credits are for our community,” she said. “It will soon become a priceless resource for seniors living below the poverty line, and a lasting legacy to this generous community for their perceptive articulation of a social need and providing a tangible solution. We should all be proud of this endeavor.”

“Conservative estimates show that over 50 percent of our area’s senior population is economically insecure; that is, unable to cover the cost of their most basic needs,” said Rona Barrett, president and CEO of the Rona Barrett Foundation. “On the Central Coast, including our Santa Ynez Valley, there is a greater percentage of seniors as compared to other areas of the state: 20 percent of the population is age 60 plus versus the statewide average of 14 percent and, like the rest of the state, our 85-plus age group is the fastest-growing segment of the population.”

The Golden Inn & Village is a mixed-use development in a neighborhood setting that will provide approximately 120 affordable units for low-income seniors to reside in a comfortable, supportive environment that meets their needs as they age, and 27 affordable family units, some of which may be occupied by employees of the GIV. Services will range from independent to assisted living and memory care to hospice, with staff residing on the premises and available 24 hours a day.

The programs and services provided will be coordinated in collaboration with multiple community partners and include:

» 60 independent living units for low-income seniors

» 60 units of memory care/assisted living

» Senior Community Center (with extended hours for family visits and caregiver respite)

» 27 affordable family units, some of which may be occupied by employees of the GIV

?» Supportive services such as Hospice coordinated with multiple partners

» Small shops (barber, beauty shop, and other services), staff offices, drought tolerant gardens, and walking paths

The Golden Inn & Village was conceived specifically to address the needs of our senior loved ones, parents, friends, neighbors and especially orphaned seniors — those who have no one left to care for them. It is for seniors who live within our area but with resources dwindling are forced to survive on little more than Social Security. Construction on the project is slated to begin in 2015.

Click here for more information about the Golden Inn & Village, or call 805.688.8887. Click here to make an online donation.

— Kelly Kapuan of SurfMedia Communications represents the Rona Barrett Foundation



Rona Barrett: Programs Help Make College Accessible, Affordable for Senior Citizens

Rona Barrett: Programs Help Make College Accessible, Affordable for Senior Citizens


gray matters



By Rona Barrett | Published on 10.16.2014

My Mind to Me a Kingdom Is.

Did you know that this is a poem by Sir Edward Dyer? Or is it a poem by Edward de Vere, Earl of Oxford? The Internet poses the question, and various people on the Internet attempt to answer it. You could join the discussion, but why not discuss who the author is and what the poem means up close and personal, say, in a college class?

“Me, in a college class?” you say.

Yes. A college class, and please don’t tell me you’re too old at 55, 65 or 75 to take classes.

“A responsible senior doesn’t want to be an (expletive deleted) who thinks wisdom automatically comes with age,” says Ray, an 80-plus-year-old who has taken many classes at Santa Barbara City College. His were not continuing education, senior enrichment or adult education classes, but regular college classes offered to full-time students at full tuition.

For Ray, full tuition classes are a wonderful solution to keep his mind engaged. But what about our seniors who are on a limited income who cannot afford full tuition?

A friend of a friend is a senior enrolled in a Rutgers program called the Senior Citizen Audit Program that permits retired New Jersey residents age 62 or older to attend courses on a space-available, noncredit basis. The only costs are books and transportation.

I’m told Cal State Long Beach offers a Senior Citizen Education Program at a cost of $3 per semester? on a “space available” basis.

This made me wonder which, if any, of our five major local area colleges and universities offered such a great opportunity for our local seniors.

Santa Barbara City College says it does not offer an audit program for senior citizens, but it does offer “a broad array of approximately 400 classes each quarter focused on lifelong learning topics through its Center for Lifelong Learning” at an average of $5 per hour. (The Center for Lifelong Learning also offers tuition assistance by application prior to the start of each term.)

Cal Poly says budget cuts eliminated similar programs to those of Rutgers’.

Unfortunately, three of the five schools polled — UCSBAllan Hancock and Cuesta — did not respond. Perhaps they were busy.

But what is it like to be a senior “new kid” in a class of younger, eager and energetic students?

In most cases, Ray finds himself quickly accepted by his younger peers. Many eventually look up to him, resulting in “getting more out of the class than I ever thought possible.”

My friend, who was Ray’s screenwriting instructor, told me that for as much as a senior gets out of a class, they also give, “lending a friendly ear, offering real-world perspectives and modeling a solid work ethic.”

For a senior, staying mentally active is vitally important. We’ve all heard about the many “use it or lose it” studies that tell us taking a class — any kind of class — can improve seniors’ cognitive problem-solving abilities, rejuvenate memory and keep us healthier longer. I call that smart thinking.

Another benefit? The IRS’ $10,000 lifetime senior deduction for higher education. I call that smart money.

Until next time, keep thinking … and keep thinking good thoughts.

— In honor of her late father, entertainment journalist, author, senior activist and Santa Barbara County resident Rona Barrett is the driving force behind the Golden Inn & Village, the area’s first affordable senior living and care facility, scheduled to begin construction in early 2015. Contact her at [email protected]. The opinions expressed are her own.

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