Santa Barbara, in addition to being a popular tourist destination, has become a hub for young and developing businesses, notes Kenny Slaught, with dozens of promising, new companies founded in recent years. Many, including AppScale, LastLine, TrackR, and Salty Girl Seafood, have come directly out of the University of California Santa Barbara (UCSB). Over $200 million has been raised from private investors for area startups in the last year, giving the Central Coast nearly twice the investment in innovation per capita than the greater Los Angeles area, a much larger market. While some may give in to the temptation of moving to Silicon Valley or Hollywood, local entrepreneurs recognize the importance of building a business in an environment which promotes growth. This results in the region being one of the best places in the country to launch and cultivate startups, with remarkable biotech, medical, technology, and scientific businesses like Inogen, Raytheon, Sonos, and BioIQ getting their start here.
Many West Coast buyers are finding that with a white-hot housing market, they are forced to pay excessively high prices for older, less fashionable homes. Kenny Slaught notes that prices having been increasing steadily since 2008, and common reference, the Standard & Poor’s Case-Shiller home price index, reveals that home prices in Los Angeles rose to their highest point during April of this year since October of 2007. Southern California’s larger metropolitan areas are no longer just reflecting recovery from the recession: they are closing in on their former peaks. Slaught notes that the turnaround can be attributed to many factors, including interest rates, job growth and supply and demand. 30-year, fixed-rate mortgages are currently hover around 3.5% or less, nearing 3.31 percent (the record low hit in November 2012) and pushing many toward buying. These historically low interest rates, coupled with strong employment numbers, such as a 2.4% gain in Los Angeles County and a 3.5% rise in Orange County, point to just why values have appreciated in an extraordinarily fast-paced manner. Home prices vary considerably statewide, but the inflated asking price of higher-end homes throughout California outpaces all other states with the exception of Hawaii. The feverish housing market cannot currently be satisfied by the slim supply available, with many first-timers forced to opt for condominium-style units that are readily available within a more modest price range.
Santa Barbara a scenic, coastal town, is widely recognized as a world famous tourist destination. It is located just north of Los Angeles and it is full of beautiful buildings with a rich architectural history. From Spanish inspired homes to intricately adorned archways and structures, the city was created with the intention of an appealing design that would restrict uncontrolled growth. As a passionate Santa Barbara real estate developer, Kenny Slaught, provides insight into how the architectural integrity was maintained throughout the years. He explains that maintaining the natural charm of this region was intentional and as early as 1925, city planners enacted development controls to prevent waning of Spanish Colonial architecture. Controls were put in place and guidelines were designed to preserve unique structures and community areas. In 1960, Santa Barbara even established laws to protect historic landmarks found around the city.
Hospice of Santa Barbara provides a wide range of services to benefit individuals facing terminal and chronic illness, as well as their families. Several of the programs at the Hospice focus on the needs of children dealing with the impending or recent passing of a loved one. Explains Kenny Slaught, about one in five children experience the death of a loved one prior to turning 18, and one in 20 children faces the loss of one or both parents prior to reaching adulthood. Hospice of Santa Barbara seeks to provide people in this situation with free counseling through numerous paths, aiding individuals in coping with grief to avoid or mitigate depression, anxiety, or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Kenny Slaught endorses the initiatives of Hospice of Santa Barbara, as they build an active support network at local school campuses of all levels, from elementary school to college. Volunteers visit campuses and build weekly support groups for students suffering traumatic or complex scenarios and requiring a safe space with which to discuss their thoughts and feelings. On-campus groups aim to create open atmospheres that encourage openness and boost critical coping skills. Effective coping skills help adolescents avoid drugs, alcohol, and other forms of self-medication. In addition to direct interaction with students, the hospice volunteers offer training for faculty and staff members about how to communicate with students who are dealing with trauma and how to handle their questions about death, most notably violent deaths and suicide. Each of the 65 schools in the Hospice of Santa Barbara network can call on the services throughout the year to respond to a traumatic situation quickly and successfully.