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). Truly 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.
We have change our primary objective to figuring out how to increase the number of affordable homes as quickly as possible. And if possible, we will build them ourselves.
We are meeting with the public, getting to know their desires and capabilities, and making plans to help them become builders. In 2018, Sonoma County’s planning department enacted a provision called the Cottage Housing Development provision to allow construction of multiple small units on a single residential lot. This provision is allowing tiny houses to be built on foundations.
In the 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. But with education and experience, people no longer have to wait.
Care Association is working to coordinate workshops to teach people to become their own general contractors and developers. And then we hope to expand to also develop real property for others who may not have the physical ability to build their own homes.
For a Better Economy
The demand for more affordable housing is growing all over the country. In the San Francisco Bay Area, a shift in culture has been the consequence of thousands of residents leaving to live in more affordable communities. Small businesses suffer from the pressure of paying a rising minimum wage and lack of a job applicant pool. If lower-income workers are unable to live in the cities where there is work, how can these businesses survive? By providing homes at rates people are able to pay and afford daily living expenses, we will strengthen the economy and enliven the community.