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Napa has an amazing opportunity to provide critical housing and services to people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness. Heritage House Apartments and the adjacent Valle Verde Apartments, thoughtful and carefully designed housing developments, will go a long way to addressing Napa’s need for affordable, supported housing for individuals and families. Napa Housing Coalition wholeheartedly supports these new developments.

Napa is a world-class wine and dining destination. However, this is not what gives Napa its special feeling; it’s about community, it’s about our people. The people who live and work here make all that is Napa possible.

A community is only as vital and thriving as its people are healthy and able to contribute to society. Chronic stress from housing insecurity leads to higher risk of chronic disease.

Everyone in a community is impacted in some way when others of us suffer from preventable chronic disease. Available affordable housing is essential for Napa’s prosperity. Housing is health.

Heritage House Apartments restores a facility that has sat vacant for a number of years into a new apartment complex that will have amenities such as a community room, computer lab, and outdoor courtyard that will foster a sense of community within the complex. There will also be onsite property management, 24/7 staff presence and a significant level of service including case management, job counseling, and health and wellness programs. Onsite management and services will be provided by the partnership of Abode Services and Burbank Housing, a collaboration that has a proven track record in which 95% of their residents stay housed.

Both properties will operate under the Housing First philosophy, an evidence-based approach that connects individuals and families to housing as quickly as possible. The premise is that people cannot recover from medical, or mental health, or substance abuse disorders without a stable place to live. Multiple studies have shown that this supported housing approach allows tenants to live independently and improve outcomes. In other words, this can work.

There are many paradigms embedded in housing policy. Housing as a human right contends that adequate, safe and affordable housing is critical to proper human development. Such housing enables members to be healthy, to take advantage of educational opportunities, to be productive members of the workforce, and to form nurturing families. Housing is fundamental to human flourishing.

In a community such as Napa, with an enviable quality of life that all residents are worthy of, shouldn’t housing as human right be our guide post for housing policy?

We support Heritage House Apartments and Valle Verde Apartments and ask Napans to open their minds to the possibility of a community without chronic homelessness. We also urge the City Council to approve these desperately needed housing developments.

Joelle Gallagher

Teresa Zimny

Co-chairs, Napa Housing Coalition

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