The joys of living cooperatively go far beyond affordable housing. Joining the co-op is a wonderful way to make lasting friendships, learn new useful skills, and practice living your values everyday within a supportive, diverse community.
Each SBSHC house is run by the members who live there, and all members contribute to running their co-op house. Each quarter, members are elected to "Service Positions", such as House Treasurer, Food Shopper, Maintenance Manager, and Garden Manager. There are many positions to choose from and opportunities each quarter to try something new and keep building your co-op skills. Members also help keep their houses looking good and running smoothly by participating in shared chore systems, quarterly Work Holidays, and house decision-making meetings.
All SBSHC houses have bulk purchasing programs that provide basic essentials for members, such as cleaning supplies, toilet paper, and laundry detergent. With the exception of Newman House, all houses also have shared bulk food purchasing and meal programs that keep our co-op kitchens stocked and provide home-cooked meals every week.
Beyond each house community, SBSHC members can help run our non-profit organization by joining SBSHC committees or the SBSHC Board of Directors. There are many ways to get involved within SBSHC and help foster an excellent, active, and creative co-op community.
Future rates are subject to change.
Each co-op house of the SBSHC is a close-knit community with a unique and dynamic culture. We cook and clean together. We organize our own parties, educational workshops, and other social events. We help run our non-profit organization and practice daily self-governance. And because we're doing it all together, we're able to live more sustainably and affordably.
Some of our houses have cultures centered around specific themes. When applying, be sure to read through each house description when selecting the houses that best suit you.
Named after Stephen Bantu Biko, founder and martyr of the anti-apartheid Black Consciousness movement in South Africa, Biko is SBSHC's "People of Color" co-op. The Biko house takes on the responsibility of maintaining a safe, respectful space for people of color in a predominantly white campus community, as well as spreading awareness about racial equality, social justice, anti-oppression, cultural awareness, social movements, and the need for intersectionality within the Isla Vista community and beyond. The 18 members of Biko house share twelve bedrooms and six bathrooms. The kitchen is large and spacious, with industrial-strength cooking facilities and a stocked pantry. The House and Board charges cover gas, electricity, water, trash, laundry, internet, and a meal plan. The garage space out front functions as an all-purpose community space, or info-shop, that is open for organization meetings, musical and dance performances, art exhibitions, and workshops. The Biko Infoshop is run by donation only, and is run and operated by house members.
Dolores House, formerly, "Dashain," is our vegetarian / vegan house, named for social justice activist Dolores Huerta. The house strives to be ethical and environmentally friendly in its consumption, and buys organic produce from the local food cooperative and farmers’ markets. Dolores maintains its own garden space out back, where its 15 residents can watch the sunset, build a bonfire, harvest homegrown veggies, and enjoy the ocean breeze. The kitchen, always warm and inviting, is a gathering place for Doloreans, food boarders, and friends — on a typical afternoon, you might find people listening to music, playing board games, or cooking a delicious vegan meal. The house has nine bedrooms and three bathrooms. The House and Board charges cover water, trash, electricity, gas, internet, laundry, and a vegetarian meal plan.
Manley House, our first communal house, is home to 17 members who love their 3 avocado trees, 3 loquat trees, and passionfruit vine. They also enjoy their handmade swinging bench, comfy hammock, solar panels, annual prom, and built-in movie projector. Manley has eleven bedrooms in two separate units. Three bedrooms are located upstairs, where there is a large deck with plentiful sun and great views. Downstairs there are eight bedrooms, a living room, kitchen, dining room, tool shed, and study room. The House and Board charges cover electricity, gas, water, trash, laundry, cable internet, and cable television and a meal plan. The house is named after Steven Manley, who died August 15, 1979, battling a brush wildfire near Santa Maria. He was 21 years old and a Junior Environmental Studies Major at UCSB, working the summer as a firefighter with the California Division of Forestry.
Named after Thomas Merton, a Catholic priest who advocated for interfaith understanding and social justice, Merton is the Interfaith-themed house. The Interfaith theme serves as a legacy to the building’s previous and only owner, the University Religious Conference, which had existed for several decades and used the location for many years as a vibrant meeting space for student community life and interfaith dialogue and cooperation. In continuation of this work, the Interfaith theme encompasses similar interests ranging from interfaith education to activism for social change.
In the Upstairs, Merton is home to eighteen Mertonians who occupy twelve bedrooms along with a shared kitchen, living room, and large communal bathroom. In the Downstairs, Merton houses the SBSHC Central Office, board/meeting rooms, a mini library, and an auditorium, which is used for social gatherings. In addition, Merton maintains a garden outside for food consumption.
The house and board charges cover electricity, gas, water, trash, laundry, internet, and a meal plan. Mertonians who are low-income UCSB undergraduates are eligible for scholarships of $500-600 per quarter through UCSB’s Financial Aid Office. In addition to these available scholarships, Merton receives about $10,000 annually to organize interfaith and community events, dinners/potlucks, speakers, films and to send Mertonians to interfaith-related conferences.
In order to live at Merton and receive the quarterly scholarship, members must qualify as low-income. Income status will be verified using you (or your parent's) previous years' tax returns. For independent students, the threshold for income is $44,600. If your parents claim you as a Dependent, then your income would include both yours and your parents. The thresholds, depending on household size, are below:
The income limits as of April 2018 are as follows:
1-person household: $44,600
2-person household: $50,950
3-person household: $57,300
4-person household: $63,700
5-person household: $68,750
6-person household: $73,850
7-person household: $75,950
8-person household: $84,050
Although Newman has nine separate apartments (six two-bedroom/one-bath units and three studios), Newman feels like a community. There is no meal plan for the Newman building but some members participate in optional potlucks. The fire pit in front, gardens and composting system, and mural painting projects on Newman's walls, allows members to be creative and communal. But if that's not your thing, there are enough private space in Newman to make it what you want it to be. The House charge for Newman's 27-30 residents covers laundry, parking, water, trash, gas, electricity and cable internet. Newman House is named after Patti Newman, significant contributor and driving force behind the creation of the Santa Barbara Housing Co-op.
Persimmon House is our newest cooperative, located in downtown Santa Barbara. Situated in a quiet, residential neighborhood on the Westside, a short walk from State Street and bus stops, it is home to graduate students, non-traditional students, young professionals, and co-op alumni. The house features two stories, a large peaceful yard with fruit trees and space for barbecuing, and a separate garage that can be used for hanging out or DIY activities. There are seven rooms, four with a porch or balcony and two featuring their own en-suite bathroom. House and board charges cover electricity, water, trash, gas, fast wireless internet in all the rooms, and a meal plan.