I read with interest the article about the non-profit corporation building 66 apartments for the homeless / low income ("California awards $7.9 million to supportive housing development for Napa homeless," June 25).

I wonder if no one at any level of government or the author of the piece questioned the cost of $431,000 per apartment. A developer would expect a return of about 25 percent, so therefore, their costs would equate to 75 percent of the asking price. If the cost of these apartments is $431,000, then in a normal market they would be listed for around $575,000.

Questions that might be worth asking:

1. Why is the cost per unit so high?

2. Could we buy houses and apartments on the open market cheaper and provide more housing?

3. What is the minimum standard of accommodation we’re providing at taxpayer expense?

4. What proportion of our homeless are those who’ve fallen on hard times, and what proportion are from Napa, we should clarify the numbers of homeless, and the reasons for their homelessness?

5. Should we first get everyone off the streets before we offer the lucky few significantly better accommodations than most workers in Napa can afford?

Perhaps a series looking at the bigger issues would be useful.

Matt Wood


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