Affordable housing in the Napa Valley is as urgent a problem as it is elsewhere and this year’s devastating fires have only made it worse. Holly Hubbard Preston has this Perspective.
Earlier this month, I stood on the roof of my Napa Valley home, sweeping away the ash and charcoal left from the Glass Fire. It was the third time in as many years that I’ve carried out this solemn rooftop ritual. As with prior iterations, each broom stroke felt like a memorial to a neighbor’s loss.
Between August and October, fires wiped out hundreds of homes in our storied valley. Along with mansions, wineries and resorts, the fires destroyed mobile homes and neighborhoods filled with modest houses and rentable cottages.
Unlike my home, which is in town, many of these residences were located in the hills and outer valleys that mark the rural boundary of our community. Though fire-prone, these neighborhoods are among the last bastions of affordable housing in the Napa Valley.
Even before the fires, local housing authorities were sounding alarms about the rising scarcity of rent-ready dwellings. Drowned out by the cacophony of a fast growing wine-country economy, these warnings were hard to hear.