The USHRP co-op opened its first leased building in the fall of 1977 at 6520 Cervantes. The building had 31 one-bedroom apartments and held 61 members. The second building that the co-op master leased was at 6503 Madrid, and is still in the co-op’s possession to this day. By the fall of 1980, the co-op had master leased seven buildings and housed almost 200 members.
In 1981, USHRP passed a major milestone – the purchase of its first building. The co-op bought 6503 Madrid, which it had previously master leased, and named it after Patti Newman, one of the co-op's founding members and one of the first Executive Directors. Newman House comprises of 9 one and two-bedroom apartments. During the early 1980's the co-op continued its strategy of expansion through master leasing, eventually housing 480 university students and staff. The co-op's own staff grew quite large in order to accommodate a range of activities from building maintenance to member education.
In 1984, the USHRP purchased its second building, the Manley House. Manley was the co-op’s first group house, meaning members slept in bedrooms and worked together to organize the rest of the common household. The building is named after Steven Manley, an active co-op member who was killed over summer vacation while fighting forest fires in Los Padres National Forest.
At this point, the co-op's history takes an ominous turn. USHRP became engaged in a lawsuit with one of the property owners from which it leases several buildings. After a legal battle of several years, the co-op ended up losing the lawsuit, quite a bit of money, and many of its master-leased buildings. Eventually, USHRP ceased master-leasing altogether, and operated only the two buildings it owned: Newman and Manley. Although the lawsuit caused a lot of changes at the co-op, and a great deal of financial trouble at the time, the co-op is now in a financially stable position and is looking ahead to the future.
In 1991, the members of the co-op voted to change its name to "Santa Barbara Student Housing Co-ops," (SBSHC) in order to be more descriptive of its activities and to emphasize its relationship with the UCSB campus. The co-op also began a management arrangement with the North American Students of Cooperation (NASCO), an umbrella student co-op organization. NASCO provided SBSHC with an executive director that also served as the West Coast Developer and combined consulting efforts to get the co-op back on it’s feet.
In 1994 the tireless work and dedication of co-opers led to the acquisition of Dashain House. As a themed vegetarian house, Dashain was the first building within the co-op to have it's own meal plan. Initially it was going to be called the House of Seitan, but Dashain sounded friendlier as it also paid homage to a house pet. In 1997, the co-op bought Biko House, named for Steven Biko, the Black Nationalist student leader and revolutionary who fought and died in the struggle to end apartheid in South Africa. Biko is a house for people of color and their allies committed to fighting racism.
In 2011, SBSHC purchased it's fifth house, the Thomas Merton House, as an Interfaith Themed house. Purchased from the previous owner, the University Religious Center, SBSHC strives to continue positive and challenging discussions around faith and cooperation.
Each resident member is obligated to complete chore tasks as assigned by the member house manager. All the houses prepare their own meals using chores and under the supervision of elected member kitchen managers. Likewise, most routine and minor maintenance is done by house members under the supervision of the elected member house maintenance manager.
In addition to the student management, there is a professional full-time staff of 2 people who oversee centralized operations. The professional staff consists of the Executive Director and Member Services Coordinator. Central functions include collection of fees, applications and assignments, fiscal management and major maintenance. While the full-time staff provides continuity and expertise for the organization, major policy and organizational decisions are still reserved for the Board of Directors.
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
The Board works as a representational democracy in which the houses elect Board Representatives; the Board Representatives elect the Officers; the Officers chair committees of the Board; the Board votes on proposals from the committees and staff affecting SBSHC continuing policy, and sets the annual budget for the Co-op. Officer positions that serve on the Board of Directors are the President, the Vice President, the Secretary and the Treasurer.
Chiji coordinates the cooperative's operations, finance, administration, maintenance, and staff. He implements decisions by the Board and enjoys living cooperatively. Chiji continues to work with the Board in developing visions for the cooperative's future.
Chiji grew up in the forests of Minnesota. After communing with nature, he decided to attend Pomona College. Upon finishing his bachelor's degree, he lived with wolves in Idaho, worked at a farmer's market in New Mexico, and then returned to Minnesota for his master's degree. While attending the University of Minnesota, Chiji lived at a student housing cooperative wherein he held several leadership roles. After obtaining his master's degree, Chiji went on to work with the US Forest Service and National Park Service, eventually making his path back to cooperatives.
Chiji is passionate about intentional communities, reads often, enjoys baking, explores, and plays harp.
Member Services Coordinator
Josh deals with housing applications, information on housing, and contracts. He is responsible for recruitment, advertising/outreach and renewals, and can answer any and all housing questions and problems. Josh manages the Service Program, helps coordinate events and other generally fun/nice things!
Otherwise, Josh puts on diy shows (sbdiy), does music (cave babies), wears hats, does food not bombs every Sunday, fingerboards, does radio at the college/community station (5432fun) and has an unhealthy obsession with VHS and collecting large amounts of useless things.
Josh has a beard.
phone: (805) 685-6964
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