NAPA (KPIX 5) — Soaring rents and home prices have become a big problem in Napa County. It has become so bad, it’s keeping potential students away from Napa Valley College because they can’t afford to live there.
“It’s tough it’s really tough,” says Ron Craft. He’s the school’s superintendent and president. He says the high housing prices and traffic around campus are are driving away students.
“They just can’t afford to live here so they commute sometimes hours to get to classes and we are trying to address that issue,” says Kraft.
The Board of Trustees has agreed to move ahead with plans to create a campus village — subsidized housing for students, staff and faculty who want to avoid the lengthy commute and expensive rents.
The campus housing would be built in the northwest corner of the campus. The college estimates they could build at least 1000 units.
Many of the college’s 6000 students commute from Vallejo and spend about an hour in morning traffic. They say Napa Valley College is worth the drive but they’d live near campus if they could.
“There’s nothing cheap enough in Napa — not even sharing with people — for me to live out here,” says student Trent Washington.
“I don’t really have an income,” says student Allyson Tabas. “I am saving up but I’m not ready to live on my own yet.”
Tabas and other students say they would live in Napa if there was affordable, subsidized housing.
No plans have been drawn up yet, but the next step for the college is a feasibility survey, asking the campus community about their housing preferences..
Kraft says for students, the school would subsidize a third of the cost of the market rate. For staff and faculty housing would be part of the benefits package.
“We are the gateway to Napa so whatever we build we want it to be wonderful destination.”
The campus village project is in its earliest stages and it is unsure how much it would cost or who would pay for it. Kraft says it would have to include some kind of private/public partnership.