Affordable Housing: 
The Data

Good news and bad

What Determines Affordable Housing?

our town st helena building affordable housing at brenkle court

What determines affordability?

In February 2020, OTSH President Mary Stephenson gave a presentation on affordable housing to the St. Helena community. We wanted to clear up some of the myths, help people understand that while jobs have increased, housing has not. This is a global problem, fueled by the recession of 2008 when development and construction ground to a halt. We’re now significantly behind, playing catchup. Below are some of the highlights. 
Click on the link to see the entire presentation.

Area Median Income (AMI) 

  • Set by US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)
  • Varies by family size; differs by county
Napa County AMI for 2020 is $100,400 for a family of four
  • 80% to 120% is considered moderate income  ($80,320 to $120,480)
  • Below 80% AMI is considered low income

Federal funds usually support projects that are housing people at a maximum of 80% of AMI

A significant percent of local households are cost burdened

HUD calculates Housing Cost Burden as a household paying more than 30% of their income on housing cost
  • Includes rent and utilities for renters
  • Includes mortgage, tax, insurance and utilities for homeowners
  • 53% of the 1,365 local owner-occupied HH are House Cost Burdened
  • 47% of the 1,200 local renter HH are House Cost Burdened

The good news: St. Helena is classified as a “Rural Designation”

  • Eligible for special programs through the United States Department of Agriculture
  • Cities or towns with less than 50,000 population
  • St Helena, Calistoga, Yountville and American Canyon qualify
  • City of Napa does not
  • Preference to cities/towns with < 10,000 population

We’re missing opportunities

  • We need to rethink density
  • More self-help home ownership: We could built 50 homes in 25 years
  • OTSH obtains land and completes site development
  • Eight families are now building their homes at Brenkle Court. The project is on schedule