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Unveiling of Sonoma Wildfire Cottages

With major support from Rebuild Wine Country and Medtronic, nine fire survivor families will move into disaster resistant cottages as part of initiative led by world renown Katrina Cottage designer Marianne Cusato of Cypress Community Development Corporation
by Press Release
August 13, 2019

Santa Rosa, Calif.—Habitat for Humanity of Sonoma County announced today the dedication ceremony and unveiling of nine Sonoma Wildfire Cottages will take place on Friday, August 16 at 1:30 p.m. at the Medtronic Fountaingrove campus located at 3593 Round Barn Boulevard.

The Sonoma Wildfire Cottages Initiative was announced in 2018 as a pilot program to showcase and compare the construction industry’s most innovative building technologies, while delivering shelter to families who lost their homes directly or indirectly due to the October 2017 wildfires. The initiative was launched when Medtronic committed to providing land on their Fountaingrove campus to host the build.

The goal of the Sonoma Wildfire Cottages Initiative is threefold:

1. Confront the epidemic of housing insecurity through a built case study of four different modern construction approaches to introduce real and attainable solutions that can be applied throughout the State of California and nationwide.
2. Provide attainable housing for families impacted by the 2017 wildfires and a stabilizing “hand up” for a path toward homeownership.
3. Inform the rebuilding process today and help communities throughout California and nationwide prepare for future disasters by showcasing innovative housing solutions and preparing an outline of lessons learned.

The four companies participating in the program are Connect-Homes, Wolf Industries/Homes for Sonoma, GigaCrete, and West Coast SIPs.

Cypress Community Development Corporation, which specializes in disaster recovery housing programs, oversaw the building and development process with input from the affected communities and stakeholders. Opticos Design, of Berkley, CA designed the master plan for the development with native, drought resistant landscaping led by Blume & Dean Landscape Design.

The pilot program was funded in large part by donations from Rebuild Wine Country and the Medtronic Foundation. Additional funding in the form of a grant of $150,000 was provided by Redwood Credit Union Community Fund, Inc., in partnership with The Press Democrat and the Office of Senator Mike McGuire. Additional sponsors include American Storage, AO Smith, Benjamin Obdyke, City of Santa Rosa, County of Sonoma, Delta Bluegrass Company, Devil Mountain Nursery, Dupont, Google Nest, Homes for Sonoma, James Hardie Building Products, Lunardi’s Electric, Mendocino Forest Products, North West Electric, O’Connor Sheetmetal, PH Productions, Piazza Hospitality, Poppy Bank, Quality Discount Cabinets, Safeway Northern California Division, State Farm Insurance, United Sheet Rock and Windsor One.

Tim Leach, Interim CEO and Board Chair of Habitat for Humanity of Sonoma County, expresses the organization’s continued gratitude for the community’s generosity and support. “Every day at Habitat we are inspired by the folks who keep showing up. Our volunteers and donors, our corporate sponsors, and partners in the construction industry who are donating materials and services are incredible. They know Sonoma County’s recovery has only just begun, especially for people who are still struggling to have a decent, affordable home for their family.”

Founded by Senses Wines, Rebuild Wine Country is a charitable effort managed by volunteer wine industry professionals from both Napa and Sonoma counties. The team has raised $1.2 million thus far, with a goal of raising $5 million for the Sonoma Wildfire Cottage initiative and additional rebuild efforts by Habitat for Humanity organizations in the North Bay.

In addition to providing use of its Fountaingrove campus land for the initiative, the Medtronic Foundation provided $100,000 to further Habitat for Humanity’s relief efforts in Sonoma County. Over 200 Medtronic employees have also been actively involved in volunteer activities with Habitat for Humanity, including building play houses for residents impacted by the October 8 fire. “Innovation, collaboration, and good citizenship are fundamentals that drive Medtronic and our employees, and further our Mission. The community came together to stabilize and strengthen lives that were impacted by the fires and we are proud to be a part of this community-wide team,” said Sean Salmon, Senior Vice President, President of Medtronic Coronary and Structural Heart in Santa Rosa.

About Habitat for Humanity of Sonoma County
Habitat for Humanity of Sonoma County has been bringing people together to build homes, communities and hope since 1984. Our affiliate, one of over 1000 in the United States, is in rapid transition to greatly expand the number of homes and families we build and serve. Habitat homeowners help build their own homes alongside volunteers and purchase them with an affordable mortgage. Habitat homes remain affordable as long as the need exists for affordable homes. Building on our 2021 Strategic Plan and in response to the October 2017 wildfires, Habitat for Humanity of Sonoma County will serve more people than ever before through decent and affordable housing. Find more information at www.habitatsoco.org.

About Cypress Community Development Corporation & Marianne Cusato
Cypress Community Development Corp, a not for profit housing development division of the DC based strategic advisory and advocacy firm The Cypress Group, specializes in developing innovative housing solutions for disaster rebuilding and workforce housing. Together with Marianne Cusato, Cypress Community Development Corporation built 450 Katrina Cottages in Louisiana through FEMA funding and affordable housing sources and is currently constructing homes in the Florida Keys rebuilding following Hurricane Irma. Find more information at www.CypressGroupDC.com and www.MarianneCusato.com.


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