Mike Dent

The Nevada County Board of Supervisors had foresight when they prioritized access to affordable housing in 2018. Since that time, the housing crisis in California has accelerated, as has the cost of development. California is currently the second most expensive place to live in the nation after Hawaii. The Board’s early action precipitated a wave of forward-thinking efforts and innovative solutions. Since 2018, there have been numerous projects initiated across Nevada County, representing a spectrum of housing types from supportive housing to general affordable housing. After years of effort, many of these projects are starting to come online, including Brunswick Commons in Grass Valley, Lone Oak Senior Apartments in Penn Valley, and Cashin’s Field in Nevada City. These projects have a tangible benefit, but it is still not enough, and more must be done across the spectrum.

The Ranch House project is a great example of an innovative project that addresses an important gap in the current array of housing services: supportive housing for people who are stable enough to live with relative independence but will thrive best in an independent unit, as opposed to living with roommates. To close this gap, this project would convert an existing program in a three-bedroom dwelling into six standalone units. To make this vision a reality, we successfully applied for No Place Like Home (NLPH) funding, becoming the first small-scale project funded in California under the NLPH program. When this project was hit by inflation and increasing construction costs that have impacted projects across the state, we applied for additional funding to make the project possible based on current construction cost estimates. Luckily, we were among the first five applicants awarded Community Care Expansion funding. This project is important, and the significant costs of closing this housing gap are being entirely funded by State grants, not local General Funds.

Mike Dent is Nevada County’s Housing and Community Services Director.