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About SHHC

Workforce housing in Saint Helena is our most critical need. Senior housing is a close second. Saint Helena Housing Coalition, LLC (SHHC) has been formed as a non-profit public benefit corporation and has qualified as a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization by a group of concerned citizens to address those two housing issues.

Our goal is to facilitate creating workforce and senior housing projects in the City of Saint Helena.

Seventy-five (75%) of those who work here commute from somewhere else — many workers commute more than an hour each way. Currently, we have 5,648 jobs for 2,681 residents in the workforce. Given Saint Helena's high cost of housing, most of those employed here cannot afford to live here.

Creating affordable senior housing should produce a double benefit of keeping our valued seniors in their homes while, in many cases, opening underused housing to younger families. We are perusing a suitable downtown site for this project.

Finding appropriate property within our city limits and funding is challenging because housing is expensive.

Collectively, SHHC members have considerable experience relevant to a project of this nature. This experience includes a general contractor, two individuals with property development experience, two who have raised tens of millions of dollars for non-profits, a senior bank executive, and one with significant site acquisition experience.

 

Grassy courtyard and sidewalk

Our Board of Directors

  • Rick Crebs, Chairman/Chief Executive Officer
  • Doug Barr, Director
  • Jay Caldwell, President/Director
  • Diana Deen, Director
  • Susie Fielder, Secretary/Director
  • Ben Hill, Director
  • Mark Linder, Director
  • Daniel Villasenor, Director

OVERVIEW

According to the 2018 U.S. Census Bureau, the average American farm family consists of 3.14 persons, down from 3.7 in the 1960s. On that basis, Saint Helena at 3.67 as a farm town compares favorably. However, as the end product of our agriculture is world-famous wine, Saint Helena falls into the unique category of a rural community that attracts both millions of upscale tourists and an active market for second-home buyers.

Saint Helena consists of 2,568 'households' — of which 1,633 are single-family homes. Based upon adjusted 2020 U.S. Census Bureau data, 43.7% are now second homes equals 714 homes and 1,925 people. Arguably, this represents what was once the "middle class" of Saint Helena, but now, at least in part, it has been replaced by 2,054 weekenders. All friendly folks but, by definition, contributing little to the sustainability of the Saint Helena community.

Our model creates attractive garden-style apartments that rent at thirty (30%) percent of a household's income, based on family size. Plumbing in all units will collect greywater for flushing toilets and maintaining landscaping, reducing freshwater usage by 25% to 40%. This project will include all necessary utilities.

Each apartment will have either a patio or deck looking inward to a beautifully landscaped area with children's playground equipment and communal BBQ/picnic facilities. The complex will be designed to create a sense of community, i.e., neighbors knowing neighbors.

The residents will add children to our public schools, parents to the PTA, sports coaches for youth athletic teams, and new business for our local merchants.Since most residents will have been paying between 50% and 60% of their income for housing, SHHC is committed to providing financial consulting to generate savings that could ultimately enable homeownership.

Workforce housing applicants must have been employed full-time for one year in the greater Saint Helena area. To qualify for senior housing, an applicant must have been a full-time Saint Helena resident for two years.

Recent California legislation has created more flexibility for 'affordable housing' by offering a 'density bonus,' discouraging frivolous NIMBY litigation, and a streamlined governmental approval process. This change means that SHHC may build up to 42 units per acre.

Since workforce housing focuses on those employed in Saint Helena, their demographics favor a higher number of school-aged children and should equate to an average of five occupants per unit (two adults and three children).

So, we could potentially add 210 residents per site acre, remove approximately 315 vehicles from our commute-gridlocked traffic and be able to add 126 children to our public schools. SHHC's challenge is to acquire the 17.95 acres within the Saint Helena city limits.

With our city government's cooperation, this could add 756 units with 3,780 residents to our community, 2,268 children to our public schools, and replace a substantial number of middle-class citizens lost to second homes!

Here are some photos that represent our plans for the finished project:

  • Sample Living Area
  • Sample Kitchen
  • Sample Hallway
  • Sample Bedroom
  • Sample Bathroom
  • Sample Bedroom

 

Contact Us

We We are excited about this project and want to share as much information as possible with you. You can reach us at 707-580-0418 (voice or text) or by filling out this simple form. Someone from our organization will review your message and contact you as promptly as possible.

Your privacy is important to us, and we will never sell your email address. It is used only to communicate with you about our organization and projects.