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Let’s Talk About the Isla Vista Mass Evictions

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at UCSB chapter.

“I think about my neighbors who don’t speak English and my neighbors who work in Goleta or Santa Barbara who could only afford to live here. It’s just so upsetting for me to think about the magnitude of this situation”
– Josh Chan, UCSB student and CBC & The Sweeps tenant

On March 15th, 2023 the tenants of 243 apartments in the complex known as CBC & The Sweeps received notification that Core Spaces, a corporate real-estate development firm, had purchased the buildings with the intent to make renovations. One day later, all tenants were served with an eviction notice, each given as little as 60 days and on average four months to find a new home. UCSB students, local families, and single-mothers were all left with two months to find housing amidst the ongoing housing crisis in Isla Vista. Core Spaces is also providing residents 3-months rent in accordance with HUD fair market rents or $7,000, whichever is greater. Additionally, the on-site team is providing residents with resources to identify alternative housing options and helping them to secure leases through letters of recommendations.

Most UCSB students know that finding housing in Isla Vista is incredibly difficult. In order to secure a lease for the next school year, students must begin looking for housing up to a year in advance. “The housing crisis” is often referred to as a benign inconvenience. In reality, the crisis deeply affects the community of Isla Vista, not just UCSB students, but also the families and long-term residents who have made a life here. This crisis exacerbates the dilemma that tenants of CBC & the Sweeps now face.

The mass evictions have brought to light debates over renoviction, and corporate landlords. As described by the Santa Barbara Independent, renoviction is “the practice of evicting tenants with the intention of renovating apartments in order to raise the rents substantially”. This practice displaces members of our community in an effort to increase profits. Core Spaces purchased CBC & The Sweeps with the intention of renoviction. Students and tenants are now expressing dissatisfaction with corporations such as Core Spaces purchasing buildings near college campuses, viewing students as a market commodity.

To gain more insight on the mass evictions and the implications it has had on tenants, I spoke with Josh Chan, a third year political science and philosophy student at UCSB and tenant of CBC & The Sweeps since August 2021. Josh explained it was, “incredibly upsetting that long term residents, families, and students could be displaced by an out of state company who has little to no context of the situation going on in this community.”

Many tenants held similar complaints, which led the tenants association to organize a group and speak out about this issue to the Santa Barbara board of supervisors. This meeting took place on April 4th, 2023. Since then, an emergency ordinance has been passed that slows down the “renoviction” process. However, tenants such as Josh are unsatisfied as they, “are still unsure of how this ordinance specifically applies to our situation at the Sweeps,” and that the ordinance, “doesn’t change the fact that Core Spaces is continuing with their ‘renoviction’ plans.”

Josh is one of what is estimated to be almost 1,000 people evicted from CBC & The Sweeps. Core Spaces noted that exactly “550 people were evicted”. Core Spaces noted that “they are completing renovations to CBC & The Sweeps, and the work cannot be safely done with residents living in the building. The building has not received substantial improvements for several decades – these improvements will help ensure CBC & The Sweeps can be a viable housing option for Isla Vista and UCSB students for decades to come.” 

Unfortunately, these mass evictions are legal and many of the tenants will be unable to afford rent prices after renovation. Left to scramble for housing two-thirds of the way through the year, parents will likely be forced to relocate their children and students likely forced to move to Goleta and Santa Barbara facing a new daily commute to school.

Special thank you to Josh Chan for contributing to the creation of this article. Josh is one of the tenants that spoke to the Santa Barbara board of supervisors, video of his speech—as well as his original music—can be found on his instagram @jomch

Hi! My name is Hailey, I am from Seattle and a third year political science major here at UCSB!