Community Link
A newsletter of Napa Valley Community Foundation
May 2014

Recent Mother's Day celebrations reminded us about being lovingly cared for, and how part of that care is having a place to call home--a place that we trust, that is safe and where we are supported and treated with dignity.


This month's edition of Community Link features three organizations that provide residents with a safe and supportive environment--whether it's permanent housing, a temporary shelter, or a day center that also is a home away from home. All programs have been vetted by Community Foundation staff.


If you'd like to support any of them, you can recommend a grant by logging into your DonorCentral account from the homepage on our website. Or, you can fax us a completed grant recommendation form at 254.7955. 




Julia DeNatale & Marla Tofle

Philanthropic Services Staff


Low-income residents access quality housing they can afford


Organization: Napa Valley Community Housing (NVCH)

What's needed: $10,000 for general support  


Why they exist: In Napa County, 40 percent of households earn less than median income for the Valley, which is about $65,000 for a family of four. These low-income families often struggle to find housing they can afford, and when they can't, they live in overcrowded or substandard conditions. NVCH develops and manages housing targeted to families that earn $50,000 or less annually. The nonprofit has on its roster 16 housing developments (575 units) in the cities of Napa, St. Helena and Yountville; NVCH earmarks a percentage of units for seniors or farmworkers, since those populations are particularly under-served when it comes to finding adequate housing.  


What they do well: NVCH also provides support services to residents at each of its sites by partnering with 80 different nonprofit and agency programs. For instance, staff help families identify and prioritize challenges, then connects them with appropriate services. NVCH also offers on-site trainings and workshops on topics like health and nutrition, parenting, and leadership skills. Some sites host on-premise preschool classes, or afterschool homework help for students. Free Wi-Fi recently was installed in 96 percent of NVCH units, filling an important gap for residents, who typically cannot afford an Internet connection.


What we learned when we met with them recently: Since the recession in 2008, state and federal funding streams dedicated to affordable housing have shrunk or disappeared entirely, which stalled potential projects. Recently, though, NVCH secured local and state funding to build a new, 41-unit development in downtown Napa. The government agencies require NVCH to break ground before the funding is released (a typical scenario), which means the nonprofit is working to raise $160,000 to cover pre-construction costs, like architectural plans and environmental impact studies.


People served: 1,750 (600 are children and 200 are seniors)


Budget & Board: $1 million/8 Board Members


Contact: Kathleen Dreessen, Executive Director,


Elderly with dementia, and chronically ill adults, receive comprehensive care with dignity


Organization: Napa Valley Hospice & Adult Day Services (NVHADS)

What's needed: $20,000 for the Adult Day Services (ADS) program  


Why they exist: ADS offers health, rehabilitation and social services so adults with chronic diseases or disabilities that also require high levels of supervision can remain in their homes and out of costly or out-of-county nursing facilities. Typical clients have multiple conditions that cause functional limitations (like Alzheimer's, severe diabetes, brain injuries); attend anywhere from two to five days a week; and, receive a combination of medical treatment and therapeutic activities that are tailored to each individual's health needs. More than half of ADS' clients are low-income and access the services through government-subsidized medical insurance; another 20 percent pay fees on a sliding-scale basis because they can't afford ADS' daily rate of $95.  When clients attend ADS, it is a respite for family members that are handling caretaking duties round-the-clock, or working jobs outside the home when not caregiving.


What they do well: ADS has been effective at keeping clients out of institutionalized care: 99 percent avoid premature placement in nursing homes, and about 75 percent avoid ER visits and hospital stays.  ADS serves a particularly important role in Napa County, where the number of private nursing facility beds available to low-income residents is not enough to meet the need. The nonprofit's services also are cost-effective. ADS' per-patient cost is significantly less than a private skilled nursing facility, which runs about $250 per day in California. ADS also includes the whole family in each client's treatment plans and goals, and provides emotional support to relatives that feel the strain of caregiving.


What we learned when we met with them recently: Chronic federal and state budget cuts to Adult Day programs have chipped away at ADS' funding, and 2013 cuts totaled $430,000.  NVHADS' Board and executive leadership has been working to fill this funding gap by: developing new grant funding sources; building a larger base of private-pay clients; implementing a program to share staff resources with other non-competing hospice organizations; and, bolstering fundraising from individual donors.  


People served: 175 adults per year (76 percent are 65 or older and more than half have Alzheimer's disease or other forms of dementia)


Budget & Board $8.7 million ($1.6 million is for ADS)/11 Board members


Contact: Linda Gibson, Executive Director,


Women and children have a safe escape from violence


Organization: Napa Emergency Women's Services (NEWS)  

What's needed: $10,000 for general support


Why they exist:  To support women and children who are victims of domestic violence, empower them to recover, and lead lives free of abuse. NEWS connects women to services like: legal assistance to file restraining orders; mental health counseling; and, subsidy programs for food, medical care and housing. The nonprofit also runs support groups for survivors who have co-existing mental health and substance abuse issues, and has a special support group program for youngsters that are victims. NEWS operates a shelter for abused women and their children--the only one of its kind in Napa County. A couple of years ago, NEWS added advocacy and counseling services for victims of sexual assault.


What they do well:  NEWS has built a strong partnership with law enforcement departments and child welfare agencies in Napa County, and NEWS continues to work with these entities to integrate victim support and advocacy services into domestic violence response practices. For example, NEWS gets notified when a domestic violence incident is reported, and sends a trained domestic violence advocate to the scene who works alongside the officer and offers immediate support to victims. NEWS also has staff stationed at the police department; they work on law enforcement's backlog of cases, reaching out to victims that refused help at the crime scene (as often happens), and connecting them with services. Since launching this particular approach last summer, the nonprofit has helped 75 victims who otherwise would have fallen through the cracks.


What we learned when we met with them recently: Affordable--and permanent--housing is a pressing need for NEWS' clients after they leave the shelter. These women don't have the option of going back home, and now are living on a single income, which means a lot of local housing stock is beyond their budget. NEWS has housing staff that identifies and works with local landlords willing to rent, at affordable rates, to the 60 women (and their children) in need of permanent homes each year. Doing so keeps these vulnerable families close to their support networks, schools and jobs.


People served: 1,300 women and children 


Budget & Board $ 1.3 million/ 17 Board members


Contact: Tracy Lamb, Executive Director,  

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