Our Mission

Care Association plans, develops, and implements innovative strategies to alleviate economic burdens on lower- and middle-income households.  We serve households in the United States that pay more than 30% of their gross income on housing or are transient because of lack of affordable housing.

Our primary program is focused on developing truly affordable homes.  Affordability can be achieved by building small, using donated or second-hand materials, and using sweat equity from volunteers and prospective residents.  We are also exploring the use of innovative or unconventional building methods.  Many conventional “affordable housing” plans include subsidies to cover the “market rates” for vacancies.  But the real demand is for housing at costs that households in lower income brackets can afford.  With property development, we aim to create homes that a worker earning minimum wage can afford.

By providing housing, we also promote people’s mental health.  Our secondary program supports mental wellness with psychoeducation and other mental health support.

Our Plan for 2021

Scroll down to read about our primary program, or visit our fundraising page for more information.

Primary Program

Truly Affordable Housing

Too many Americans pay more than the national standard of 30% of gross income on housing costs: including rent or mortgage, maintenance and utilities.   One out of 11 households are cost-burdened with housing costs that are 50% or more of their income (Source: Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University).  This ratio may be higher because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Housing that costs no more than 30% of households’ income allows residents to reallocate funds toward other necessities, such as child care, education, healthcare, clothing, and food.  Reducing housing costs increases disposable income, which raises spending power and strengthens the economy

Our goal is to create truly affordable homes that do not rely on government subsidies.  To do this, we plan to:

  • Build small
  • Use donated and second-hand materials, and
  • Use the sweat equity of volunteers and prospective residents

For truly affordable homes, we also need alternative construction methods.  Cob construction and 3-D printing are a few of the methods we are researching.  We are also considering combustibility and longevity.  Houses built primarily with wood do not belong in wildfire zones.  And structures should be low-maintenance and easy to repair.

Our plan

In 2018, the planning department of Sonoma County in Northern California enacted a provision called the Cottage Housing Development provision to allow construction of multiple small units on a single residential lot.  This provision allows tiny houses to be built on foundations, which presents an opportunity to create housing at a relatively low cost. 

In Sonoma County, known for its pinot noir, cabernet sauvignon, and zinfandel grapes, there is a 10-year waiting list for affordable homes.  This waiting list is worsened with every wildfire that destroys homes. 

We are aiming to construct at least 3 houses on a single residential lot in Sonoma County in 2022. As we gain experience with alternative construction materials, we hope to come up with a replicable model that others can also use to construct their own homes, while exploring construction education, and cost-saving protocols for building workforce housing.

The Cost

The cost of conventional construction, especially with the more-than-doubling of the cost of lumber (source), can no longer create homes affordable by a household earning minimum wage even for a 600 sq. ft. cottage. A household earning minimum wage in a 40-hour workweek can reasonable afford to pay about $780 a month in housing costs. The least expensive new home in the San Francisco Bay Area is far above this rate.

You can help us offset the cost of housing and enable us to offer homes to households earning minimum wage. Donations may be made on our Kindest page.

Accessory Dwelling Units

Care Association is also working to build accessory dwelling units (ADUs), which are living units within existing houses or elsewhere on single-family lots. A single-family house typically may have one ADU. The cost to build and ADU inside an existing house is considerably less than a standalone structure. We are currently in pre-development to build a standalone ADU in Marin County.

Every dollar counts!

We are 100% volunteers. Every dollar we receive will go toward creating housing.

Thank you for giving.

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