Calistoga's housing market is broken. To put it in perspective, Calistoga's housing market is the equivalent of a grocery store that sells only fillet mignon and caviar. Our needs are too varied for such limited (and expensive) options. The lack of variety and choice in homes leaves many Calistogans struggling to find a place to live that they can afford.
We all are. Every day that we allow Calistoga's housing market to remain broken, we lose. We lose employers who can't retain good employees. We lose young families just starting out on their careers, to other more-affordable cities. We lose new college graduates. We lose productive, moderate and low-wage earners and their families. It's a simple case of supply and demand. We see the demand for a greater variety of homes that are affordable at all income levels. What we need is the supply.
Much of the skyrocketing expense of housing in Calistoga comes from the demand for and increased profits generated from developing high end homes combined with limited supply of land and limited available permits. By zoning more property for a wider variety and supply of homes; including apartments, condos and small for-sale homes instead of just upscale high end units, the private market could create more units that accommodate all income levels.
"Affordable Housing" has many definitions; however, the typical guideline for housing cost is that it shouldn't exceed 30% of family income. Many families in Calistoga today spend more than 50% of their income for rent or mortgage payments.
Under the City's current Affordable Housing Ordinance, affordable housing refers to housing that can be afforded by families with low to moderate income. Although definitions vary with different programs, this is typically a measure of family income vs. median income for various size families in Napa County. In 2007, the median income in Napa County for a family of four was $76,875. On this basis, the definitions are as follows:
80% to 120% of median income, or $61,500 to $95,500
The U.S. Census Bureau defines the Area Median Income (AMI) as the amount which divides the income distribution into two equal groups, half having incomes above the median, half having incomes below the median. The medians for households, families, and unrelated individuals are based on all households, families, and unrelated individuals, respectively. The medians for people are based on people 15 years old and over with income" (U.S. Census Bureau, 2004).
Income limits are determined by household size - the numbers of persons living in the houshold unit. The figures for
NapaCounty for 2008 are:
** Income Limits
** Figures based on 2008 HUD Standards of 60% Napa County Median Income.
Buyers must meet certain income criteria (earning between 80%-120% of area median income) and have good credit histories. The homes may be restricted to those who work in Calistoga and priority could be given to local government or school employees (subject to legal requirement).
Buyers must be legal residents, but do not need to be
U.S. citizens. They must meet certain income criteria and have good credit histories. They must be willing and able to work 30 hours per week for about a year in order to help build the houses. Marketing focus is on those who live and/or work in Calistoga.
Rental units will target those people who earn between 35% - 60% of Area Median Income. They must be legal residents, but do not need to be
U.S. citizens. These rental units typically attract local employees because of the cost of commuting long distances is more than their incomes can support. Available units are advertised locally.
Applications for Rebuilding Calistoga can be found on our Home page in the top right corner. Click on the banner. This year the program covered seniors and those with a disability. We had such demand for this program that we may use the same criteria next year too but the eligibility criteria will be determined at the beginning of each new program year.
Low Income is an ambiguous terms when used to describe a person's income relative to the cost of living in our area. Two people with the same jobs in Calistoga and Sacramento might find that they are considered low income in one community and moderate in the other. Calistoga has such a high cost of living and such high housing costs that working families often need subsidized housing in order to live near where they work. So for us "low income" is generally used to describe the total income of a family below $100,000. Each community that gets built will have specific income requirements required by the subsidy sources used. Lakewood and Palisades Apartments follow the income charts produced by Napa County Housing Authority and HUD.
Your question will be emailed directly to Erica Sklar, our Executive Director, who will get back to you promptly. If we feel that your
question could be of interest to others, we will include it in our general FAQs above, unless you ask us specifically not to.