The Garden Court Endowment will hold an event at the Canary Hotel tonight to raise money for a housing project to assist local low-income senior citizens.

The annual “Homegrown & Santa Barbara’s Own” event, beginning at 6 p.m., will fund the construction of a new assisted living facility to complement the Garden Court’s already-existing projects. The Santa Barbara Housing Authority established the non-profit project over 10 years ago to assist disadvantaged elderly in the Santa Barbara community.

According to Detlev Peikert, Garden Court Endowment board president, the project will help support the growing number of elderly in the community.

“There are around 3,500 seniors in Santa Barbara County who are living below the poverty level,” Peikert said. “There is this wave of people — baby boomers, basically — who are becoming seniors … and it is going to have a real impact on our community.”

Although the average assisted living facility costs $3,200 per month, Peikert said many seniors only receive $870 a month in Social Security as their primary source of income.

According to Peikert, these low-income seniors do not make enough money to cover the cost of an emergency or unexpected hardship.

“For most of these seniors, their disposable income is about in the $200 to $250 range per month,” Peikert said.

Peikert said the housing project aims to provide an alternative to nursing homes.

“At the time, there is nothing really available like that for low-income seniors in Santa Barbara … so they have to go into a nursing home, which is really more of an end-of-life scenario,” Peikert said.

Tamara Erickson, Garden Court executive director, said the fundraiser proceeds will also support elderly residents not living at their facilities.

“The endowment provides funds for emergency medical and dental and other care for Santa Barbara’s low-income seniors,” Erickson said.