The Newfields

Long-time Last Chance, California, residents the Newfields* lost their home in the CZU fires along with many of their neighbors. Last Chance, an off-grid community that has existed in the Santa Cruz mountains since the 1970s, had homesteads that were built over decades and some housed multiple generations. The properties used a combination of solar, batteries, generators, wind and water turbines for power and most of the homes used composting toilets. The houses were created using cob, straw bale, rock and other non-traditional materials, as well as traditional building materials. The community was predominantly low-income seniors who owned their own homes but had built their houses without permits. Following the devastating fire, the Newfields found themselves seeking a way of using an alternative building code to rebuild their home. SLS was able to step in and assist with fire alleviation for the Newfields by working with the Santa Cruz County Board of Supervisors to obtain a trial period class K building code. The Newfields are now looking forward to rebuilding in their long-time and long-loved community!