The County of Santa Barbara HOME Consortium, with the assistance of its member cities of Santa Maria, Lompoc, Guadalupe and Carpinteria, prepared an Analysis of Impediments to Fair Housing Choice in May 1997, which was updated in September 2006. As part of the preparation, a survey of community service agencies was conducted to assess the number and types of Fair Housing complaints, Home Mortgage Disclosure Act data were collected and analyzed, and maps of the County's racial composition were created. As a result, impediments were identified and an action plan was developed. The following four impediments were identified through the Analysis for the City of Santa Maria.
Impediments to Fair Housing practice are defined as any actions, omissions, or decisions taken based on race, color, religion, sex, disability, familial status or national origin which restrict housing choices or the availability of housing choices. Fair Housing is defined as "a condition in which individuals of similar income levels in the same housing market areas have a like range of choice available to them regardless of race, marital status, color, religion, ancestry, sex, handicap, national origin, arbitrary age or any other category which may be defined by law now or in the future."
The State of California Fair Employment and Housing Act, which includes the California Fair Housing Law (often called the "Rumford Fair Housing Act"), is the primary state law banning discrimination in housing accommodations because of race, color, religion, sex, marital status, national origin, ancestry, disability, and familial status. California also upholds the Unruh Civil Rights Act of 1959 in barring discrimination in the state. The Unruh Civil Rights Act protects the right to be free from arbitrary discrimination in all public accommodations including housing. However, the primary state law is the Fair Employment and Housing Act. These statutes simultaneously guarantee protection from discriminatory acts by lenders, brokers, sellers, property managers, resident managers, and landlords on the basis of race, color, sex, religion, marital status, national origin, ancestry, age and disability.
The Legal Aid Foundation of Santa Barbara County currently has an agreement with the City of Santa Maria to perform various Fair Housing services in the City. As part of their agreement, Legal Aid provides the following services:
Conflict Solutions Center also has an agreement with the City of Santa Maria to perform various Fair Housing services in the City. As part of their agreement, Conflict Solutions Center provides the following services:
More detailed information about these services can be found on Legal Aid Foundation's and/ or Conflict Solutions Center website. Community Mediation Program does not currently have a website, but they can be reached at (805) 349-8943. For those individuals who reside in the unincorporated area outside the city limits of Santa Maria, Fair Housing services may be accessed through the Rental Housing Mediation Task Force.