Hard at Work in the Napa Valley

Most people have heard of Habitat for Humanity, the international non-profit with the mission of building homes, but fewer have heard of the local affiliate working with families right here in the Napa Valley. Solano-Napa Habitat for Humanity (SNHfH) was established in 1991 and Napa was added to the affiliate’s service area in 2002. Since then, the organization has repaired and restored homes in American Canyon, Napa and St. Helena, and will soon begin repairs on homes damaged by the earthquake.

Solano-Napa Habitat for Humanity builds affordable, quality homes for hard-working families, and also repairs homes for disabled and/or elderly homeowners who are in need. Last year, a chairlift was installed in the home of Jose and Elodia Hernandez, retired farm workers who live in St. Helena. Elodia, who suffered a stroke and could no longer climb her stairs, can now safely access her bedroom and shower. In June, Eric Sprague’s home in Napa received earthquake and safety-related updates including repairs to the roof, gutters, and sewer line, as well as new drywall, windows, and paint. Sprague, an electrical contractor and Vietnam veteran who suffers from war-related injuries, can now safely age in his home.

“Our mission is to bring people together to build decent, affordable homes and empower families through home ownership” said Diane Agnone, Executive Director of SNHfH. “It’s always inspiring to see a community unite to help a family they’ve never met – our volunteers, donors, and corporate sponsors work together and make a real difference in the lives of people who live among us.”

SNHfH will soon begin fundraising for its first ground-up home build in Napa County, an exciting step for the organization.  “There is a great need for affordable workforce housing here in Napa Valley – when the cost of living and housing is taken into account, more than 25% of our residents live in poverty,” said Kathleen de Vries, Development Director for SNHfH. “We need to educate our community on this need, and to rally our residents to help those who are the heartbeat of our service industry, and in some cases even our adult children who have been priced out of their own hometown. It’s a real problem, and our organization is working hard to fix it, one family at a time.”

For more information on volunteer opportunities, corporate sponsorships, or to donate, please visit solanonapahabitat.org or call (707) 422-1948. NVL

by Natasha Biasell