Napa County’s first-in-the-country forgivable loan program for accessory dwelling unit construction has officially launched, the county announced in a Friday press release.
The loans are intended to make it easier for people to build ADUs, which are living quarters that can be attached or detached from a main residence. ADUs have been touted by state lawmakers as one way to help address California’s housing crisis, and the state has passed laws in recent years to make approvals of such units smoother at the local government level. (ADU approvals have been picking up across Napa County and the state in recent years, but the estimated need for housing remains astronomically higher than the number of approved ADUs.)
The loan program specifically addressing a “housing affordability gap” by providing forgivable construction loans that range from $45,000 to $105,000, depending on the number of rooms and design features of the proposed ADU, according to the news release. That’s in exchange for commitments to rent the properties to households earning up to 80% of the area median income for a period of at least five years, the release says.
“This is a huge step in addressing the housing affordability crisis facing Napa County and the state,” said Belia Ramos, chair of the Board of Supervisors, in the press release. “This program is the culmination of a seven-year effort of collaborative public-private partnerships. We’re excited to see where this program goes. This is just the beginning.”