Setting goals for ourselves and our community
Initiating activity to provide housing opportunities
Our Town St. Helena is a 501(c)3 nonprofit. We began working together in 2010 to find ways to provide affordable housing for our community.
St. Helena was no longer affordable for families
As a group of longtime residents, we recognized that St. Helena was no longer affordable for families, for those who worked in our vineyards and retail sector, for first responders, teachers and healthcare workers. The results were measurable—declining school enrollments, retail shops closing, memberships in civic organizations were dwindling. The character and structure of our town were changing.
It became our goal to initiate activity to provide rental units, home ownership and nontraditional housing opportunities for the unskilled, skilled and professional workforces that are vital to the character, safety and wellbeing of our community.
We were losing our small-town character, the reason we all moved here
The Socioeconomics of Affordable Housing
St. Helena has been a desirable place to live and visit for decades, but we began to see changes that could significantly alter the small-town character that made our home special, including:
- A significant increase in the number of houses being purchased and converted to second homes
- More houses being used as short-term rentals
- Fewer migrant and more full-time farmworker families working in our community
- More jobs for moderate to low-wage workers in upvalley restaurants, tasting rooms and hotels as the hospitality industry became an important source of revenue
- Increasing pressure to build hotels to increase the TOT tax revenue of St. Helena