Solano Habitat for Humanity (SHFH) was established in 1991 when a small grass-roots organization sought to establish a local affiliate for Habitat for Humanity International to address the shortage of affordable housing for low-income households in the area.
Over the years, SHFH organized the infrastructure and rallied the volunteers to begin building affordable houses, and using Habitat’s Partnership Housing model, by 2002 five families had partnered with SHFH to build their own affordable homes (in Fairfield, Vallejo, and Vacaville). In 2002, SHFH absorbed a fledgling Habitat affiliate covering Napa County, and in 2005, SHFH officially became Solano-Napa Habitat for Humanity (SNHFH).
SNHFH continued to follow the traditional Habitat model of building single-family homes from the ground up in partnership with local low-income families, so they could be sold to those families with affordable financing (most often a 0% interest 30-year mortgage resulting in monthly payments of no more than 30% of the household income). However, the financial crisis in 2008 and 2009 changed that for SNHFH and most other Habitat affiliates. Instead of simply adding inventory to markets with a surplus of inventory, Habitat (and SNHFH) also began applying its Partnership Housing model to repairing houses, so low-income homeowners could age in place, or so that vacant homes could be made available at an affordable price to low-income households. At about the same time, SNHFH also began exploring the opportunity to open a Habitat ReStore.
In 2011, SNHFH opened its own Habitat ReStore in Fairfield, and that has facilitated a significant amount of growth for the affiliate. Over the past decade, SNHFH has continued to build houses from the ground up in partnership with low-income families, performed critical repairs on existing homes – including homes damaged by natural disasters, and most recently, created an innovative solution to a local problem for homeless veterans. In collaboration with other non-profit partners, SNHFH has built two six-bedroom/three-bathroom houses in Dixon and Rio Vista, which have become safe, decent, affordable, and permanent housing for twelve formerly homeless veterans.
Over the last five years, through a partnership with The Home Depot Foundation, the Tug McGraw Foundation, CalVet, and the Center for Volunteer and Nonprofit Leadership, SNHFH has led an annual project to improve the facilities for the more than 800 residents of the Yountville Veterans Home in Napa.
With the dedication of our second Veterans’ Residence in Rio Vista in 2021, SNHFH completed its 50th house build or repair project, and with the selection of the three Partner Families for our Woolner Build in Fairfield, we are in the process of serving three more local families in need of decent affordable housing. Our Woolner Build is the first in a series of multi-home projects in our development pipeline.