Affordable apartment project breaks ground on First Street

Napa Valley Community Housing (NVCH) broke ground last Wednesday on a 41-unit affordable housing project on First Street in Napa.

This project is a small step toward expanding the availability of affordable housing, a critical need in Napa, said NVCH Executive Director Kathleen Dreessen.

"With a waitlist of an additional 458 families seeking affordable housing, demand clearly far exceeds supply," said Dreessen. "Under Napa Valley's veneer of luxury wines and lavish lifestyles lies a large population of working poor who are struggling for a financial foothold."

According to Dreessen, "Forty percent of Napa County households earn 80 percent or less than the area median income. Many families pay 50 percent or more of their earnings to share overcrowded housing or live in substandard housing in order to make ends meet. Once Oak Creek Terrace is open in early 2016, 41 low-income families will enjoy living in a safe, attractive, comfortable environment."

NVCH currently manages 16 properties with a total resident population of approximately 1,750, including children, farmworkers and seniors.

Oak Creek Terrace, located at 2662 First St., will include a community room with computers, laundry facility, lawn/garden space, tot lot, carports and tuck-under parking.

Like all NVCH residents, Oak Creek Terrace tenants will have access to the Resident Services program which offers on-site services to help them improve their lives such as financial literacy classes, ESL (English as a second language) lessons, health and wellness education, homework help and youth activities, Community Housing said in a news release.

Resident Services also help facilitate access to health care, educational services, job training and other social services.

At the groundbreaking, county Supervisor Alfredo Pedroza said he was "proud to see our community gain 41 new units of affordable housing."

"These units will give families and individuals new opportunities to live locally and be part of our community fabric. This joint effort will have a local impact for generations to come," he said.

To support below-market rents, financing for affordable housing includes a complicated combination of low-interest and forgivable loans, grants and tax credits, Community Housing said.

The housing nonprofit also relies on charitable contributions to help subsidize rents as well as help fund ongoing property management, maintenance and the Resident Services program.

Since its inception in 1997, NVCH has built, alone or in partnership with others, more than 600 new apartments and rental homes and has supervised the rehabilitation of more than 200 additional units.

For more information or to make a donation, visit or contact the Fund Development office at [email protected] or 707-257-2844.