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Anderson Hotel receives $2 million in federal funds 

The Anderson Hotel might get a new owner in the near future through a $2 million support plan delivered by Congressman Salud Carbajal (D-Santa Barbara).

A decades-long affordable housing option for senior citizens and disabled people, the former hotel could transfer to the Housing Authority of San Luis Obispo (HASLO).

click to enlarge COSTLY CONSTRUCTION Before HASLO can purchase the Anderson Hotel, it wants to raise $22 million to help with extensive repairs like electrical and plumbing upgrades. - FILE PHOTO COURTESY OF VISIT SLO
  • File Photo Courtesy Of Visit SLO
  • COSTLY CONSTRUCTION Before HASLO can purchase the Anderson Hotel, it wants to raise $22 million to help with extensive repairs like electrical and plumbing upgrades.

"We did submit a write-up to the Anderson, explaining our need and how severe the affordable housing shortage is already here in San Luis Obispo," HASLO Execute Director Scott Smith said. "Our concern is losing this housing because there are 68 very, very affordable apartments in the Anderson right now. To lose those would be a huge setback considering the epidemic of homelessness we have going on in the county and the state."

The $2 million amount for the Anderson comes in addition to $2 million in funding from the American Rescue Plan approved by SLO County. Through Carbajal's advocacy, federal funds for nine Central Coast projects across SLO and Santa Barbara counties total $17 million. On April 22, Carbajal will visit the Anderson and its residents.

"Last year, the chair of the House Committee on Appropriations announced the committee would accept community project funding requests from members of Congress. Each member was limited to submitting no more than 10 community project funding requests for fiscal year 2022 and there was no guarantee all requested projects would be funded," Ian Mariani, Carbajal's communications director, told New Times via email. "Projects were restricted to a limited number of federal funding streams, and only state and local governments and eligible nonprofit entities are permitted to receive funding."

But a HASLO acquisition will require some work. Nearing 100 years, the Anderson is bracing itself for extensive reconstruction work. Smith told New Times that roughly $22 million would be required for "seismic work, plumbing, and electrical work."

"It would be the minimal amount that we need to raise in order to be acceptable to us to own it on a long-term basis and own it," Smith said.

He added that SLO County also committed an additional $2 million to HASLO's budgetary goal. In fact, Smith estimated the actual purchasing price of the Anderson to be only half of the renovation cost.

"It's a complicated building. There aren't many buildings like that in San Luis Obispo," he said. "We've been operating it under a master lease on the property. But it's gotten more and more difficult because as the building ages, it needs work. I think the owners realize that, and we just couldn't continue master leasing it without major updates."

Residents of the Anderson pay 30 percent of their income as rent. Instead of fully committing the incoming funds to ongoing repairs, Smith hopes to use some of it to provide more robust care for residents like appointing a service coordinator. He added that Carbajal asked for the meeting at the Anderson to interact with residents.

"I have always used my role as representative for SLO to fight for real results that can make a difference in the quality of life in our communities, and this funding is just one example of what I've delivered for San Luis Obispo," Carbajal said in a statement to New Times. "With these funds, we'll be able to make improvements to our public safety, create more affordable housing for families, and protect our water supply. These projects will go a long way toward improving quality of life on the Central Coast." Δ


Correction: This story was changed to correct a misstatement about the source of the federal funds for the Anderson Hotel.

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