The Santa Barbara Tenants Union announced the formation of a Core Spaces Tenant Association in response to the real estate firm delivering eviction notices to hundreds of people residing at CBC & The Sweeps in an April 9 statement.
“Your company Core Spaces and executives such as Scott Stager, Christine Richards, and Marc Lifshin may not understand the humanitarian crisis you are causing. Many of us have small children and elderly family members under the same roof,” the April 9 letter announcing the tenants union’s formation read.
The March 16 announcement of the mass eviction left scores of families and students scrambling to find new housing in the coming weeks. Local leaders decried the evictions, and have since bolstered protections for tenants countywide.
“Those of us forced onto the streets as parents could have our children taken away,” the letter read. “For those Core Spaces executives with families and children, we ask what you would do if we were displacing you and you lacked the economic ability to secure alternative housing for your family. What would you do?”
Core Spaces Tenant Association (CTSA) alleged Core Spaces increased the number of security guards at the complex following its purchase, causing residents to feel less secure.
“Security guards are always watching us now, following us, taking photographs of us and our possessions, looking into our windows, watching us at weekly tenant meetings, taking down our informational flyers,” the letter alleged.
Core Spaces’ Managing Director of Marketing and Communications Katy Darnaby attributed the increased security to threats made to staff members after the evictions were announced, and said it investigated the claims made by CTSA and found no evidence of such instances.
“Threatening messages have been sent to our employees and company, which ultimately led us to increase the security presence on-site as the safety of our residents and staff is of the utmost importance to us,” Darnaby said in a statement to the Nexus.
CSTA further alleged that Core Spaces sent a retaliatory cease and desist letter to a Santa Barbara Tenants Union member after the member “[told] the truth about [Core Spaces’] actions to your associated charities such as the Tony and Chriscross Foundations.”
Darnaby said that the cease and desist letter was sent to an individual who repeatedly harassed “an employee, their spouse and non-profit organizations this employee is involved in unrelated to Core Spaces.”
“They inappropriately shared the employees’ personal contact information publicly, including information on their spouse and children, encouraging actions be taken against this individual,” Darnaby said. “We found the behavior to be inappropriate and were concerned it could incite violence against the employee or family.”
CSTA described the evictions in the letter as an act of greed and lamented the struggles families and students may face as a result of the displacement.
“We believe your core value is profit maximization at the cost of existing communities that get in your way,” the letter continued. “Many of us are students who will have to drop out of school because of this; many are essential workers who work in hospitals, mechanic shops, landscaping, restaurants and we will have to quit our jobs. If you believe in community and value people, stop this mass eviction.”
A version of this article appeared on p. 1 of the April 13, 2023 print edition of the Daily Nexus.