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). Affordable housing allows residents to reallocate funds toward other necessities, such as child care, education, healthcare, clothing, and food. Reducing housing costs also increases disposable income, which raises spending power and strengthens the economy. Truly affordable housing won’t rely on government subsidies.
After efforts to connect people with vacant units to potential tenants, guide people toward self-sufficiency, and work with other nonprofits, we decided tackle the problem of availability of affordable homes by building them.
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 was worsened by the Tubbs Fire in 2017. For-profit developers are not meeting the need.
The goal Care Association’s primary program is work toward meeting the need as a nonprofit real estate developer.