Our house is a very, very, very fine house… 

But, we need many, many more very fine — and, importantly, affordable — houses!   

We believe that the lack of affordable housing is the primary driver of poverty in Napa Valley.  The repeated disasters we’ve faced since the 2014 South Napa Earthquake have only worsened this issue, depleting housing stock and displacing thousands over time. That’s why we’ve launched two programs that address the dearth of affordable housing from multiple angles. 

The first program puts the power of a solution to our public housing crisis in the hands of private citizens:

Back in the day, Graham Nash may have called them “Granny Units;” today they are more commonly known as accessory dwelling units (ADUs).  Whatever you call them, building an additional living space on a homeowner’s property, or as part of their existing home, builds future financial assets, family flexibility, and creates what is known as “naturally occurring affordable housing” units for a local teacher, firefighter, or farmworker.  

After researching the barriers that prevent local homeowners from moving forward with building an ADU, we created the Napa Sonoma ADU Center, a “one-stop shop” to help Napa and Sonoma residents successfully navigate through the process of adding an ADU to their home.  

Most recently, the ADU Center developed a first-of-its kind online gallery where homeowners can shop for both site-built and prefab pre-reviewed ADU plans.  Through the online Standard Plans Program, homeowners in Napa and Sonoma Counties can select plans that fit their needs and budget, and should be more swiftly approved by their jurisdiction — saving valuable time and money in their ADU journey!  

If you or someone you know is considering adding an ADU to your property, check out www.NapaSonomaADU.org where you will find all the information, tools, and resources to get the process started — turning your very, very, very fine house into two! 

The second program also is a public-private partnership with twin goals:

Through experience, we’ve found that those most adversely impacted by natural disasters are our low-wage workforce who cannot afford any interruption in pay, and often are one paycheck away from homelessness. Furthermore, the lack of construction labor has slowed rebuilding from recent fires (and prevented the construction of ADUs).   

To that end, we worked together with Napa Valley Adult Education, Napa Valley College, On the Move, and UpValley Family Centers to develop a unique Building & Construction Training Program, focused on creating higher-paying job opportunities for workers so that they are more resilient in future disasters, and boosting a local construction labor force.

The program combines bilingual technical education with integrated student support, coaching and job-matching. Graduating participants are immediately employable in construction jobs, which will also help speed up rebuilding. Win-win!  Watch this video to learn more.  

We are grateful to the donors and nonprofits with whom we work side-by-side to tackle the most important challenges our Valley faces, like housing!  If you have a giving Fund with Napa Valley Community Foundation and would like to support either of these programs, contact grantsadmin@napavalleycf.org. If you don’t have a Fund with us, but would like to make a tax-deductible donation, donate here.

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