Affordable Housing Projects

Brenkle Court

A USDA Rural Development
Mutual Self-Help Project

our town st helena jose at work

A Mutual Self-Help Housing Program sponsored by USDA Rural Development 

Brenkle Court is named in honor of Father John Brenkle, retired pastor of St. Helena Catholic Church and a longtime housing advocate in the Napa Valley.

The mutual self-help program provides home ownership opportunities for low-income working families who might otherwise be unable to qualify for financing. Interested families provide details on income, expenses, debt, savings and other details to determine if they meet the criteria. After a rigorous qualification process, those chosen to participate have agreed to devote 35 hours of labor per family/week until the completion of all Brenkle Court homes. Everyone moves in at the same time.

A professional construction manager handles budget, orders materials, schedules professional subcontractors, instructs applicants in construction skills and oversees the program to assure all of the homes are built to approved specifications.

Education is an important part of the Mutual Self-Help Program

Home ownership education is a critical part of the Mutual Self-Help Program and includes important information on money management, banking, budgeting, the proper use of credit, real-estate terminology, home safety, preventing identity theft, basic home maintenance and being a good neighbor.

USDA Rural Development provided the low-interest mortgages for the homeowners 

Additional financial support for the project comes from the City of St. Helena, who donated the land and waived development fees, and the County of Napa. Rural Community Assistance Corporation is providing technical support and financing.

Brenkle Court was completed in Summer 2022.


Download Fact Sheet on Brenkle Court

Pope Street 
Workforce Village

ourtownsthelena affordable housing on pope street

Pope Street Workforce Village

In September 2019, OTSH purchased the property at 963 Pope Street using a Charitable Sale strategy. We have a lovely home that we rented to an income-qualified single mom. In 2020 OTSH received City approval to build four rental units behind the home. Since then we have completed building plans, received approval so we can pull our building permit, merged two parcels into one, and are now in the process of assembling financing for the project.

Charitable Sale Strategy

By employing a Charitable Sale strategy, the seller came out ahead with significant reductions in capital gains tax, and OTSH was able to purchase the property at a deep discount.

Once constructed, all units will be available for renter households earning between approximately $63,000 to $120,000 annual income, based on a four-member household, though incomes could be lower based on household size. Our Town St. Helena will own and manage the property long term.

Expanding Pope Street project to include adjacent property

In October 2021, OTSH closed escrow on 951 Pope Street, the property adjacent to our current property at 963 Pope. This purchase was made possible by a generous gift from a private donor. Coordinating the two lots will allow us to expand the project size from five to nine units. Located two blocks from Main Street, our “workforce village” will provide two-bedroom, one-bath, income-qualified rental units in duplexes and one single-family dwelling. The project will be energy- and water-efficient and include adequate parking.

our town st helena: Expanding Pope St. Workforce Village

Christine Apartments on Hunt Avenue

OTSH Christine Apts add 4 units of affordable housing

OTSH acquired Christine Apartments, 723 Hunt Avenue, at market rate in summer 2021. The City of St Helena received Community Development Block Grant funds from the State of California and partnered with OTSH to purchase the property. In exchange, OTSH placed a 55-year deed restriction on the building, which requires rents not to exceed levels that are affordable to local workers and families for generations to come. Three long-term tenants and one new family are now assured that their rents will stay affordable, something that is a greater challenge as real estate prices continue to soar. 

We are interested in purchasing additional local properties so that we can preserve housing that is affordable to those vital to our community.