Creating Affordable Housing Options in Chico, CA

by Chico Housing Action Team
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Creating Affordable Housing Options in Chico, CA
Creating Affordable Housing Options in Chico, CA
Creating Affordable Housing Options in Chico, CA
Creating Affordable Housing Options in Chico, CA
Creating Affordable Housing Options in Chico, CA
Creating Affordable Housing Options in Chico, CA
Creating Affordable Housing Options in Chico, CA
Creating Affordable Housing Options in Chico, CA
Creating Affordable Housing Options in Chico, CA
New family getting set up to move into a HUSH home
New family getting set up to move into a HUSH home

Chico Housing Action Team (CHAT) is happy to report more growth and continued financial stability since our last report in July 2022. We enjoy the support of over 175 monthly sustaining donors who provide us with nearly $7000 per month, which is a great source of sustainable income. We are continuing to grow with a financial assistant and a property management assistant. We are now at 29 staff members, which is up from 11 eleven employees at the end of last year.

 

On the program side, CHAT is now housing over 280 residents, including nearly 90 children, in over 70 residences in Chico. We continue to create new housing opportunities, including two new homes for veterans for which the down-payments were generously provided by VFW Post 1555. We now own these two homes, each of which can house four individuals, and we are delighted that we can add to our property mix so we are less vulnerable to properties not owned by us being sold. Over a dozen people living in CHAT residences have needed to be moved quickly this year due to properties being sold by their owners. We are continuing to accept new families into our HUSH program as well as graduating families out of the program. This program helps families that are in crisis with rental housing at a below-market rate, combined with intensive case management to stabilize them, connect them with resources, and help them find permanent affordable housing. We currently have 13 families in this program. Recently a new family, Sherry and her two little ones, moved into a HUSH home and began getting stabilized. We are also continuing to house folks in our Wildflower and Harmony House programs, for folks who have mental illness, and in our Redwood Housing, where we have an arrangement with CSU-Chico to house homeless college students. We continue to support all of these clients with case management services, bi-weekly food deliveries, and a furniture warehouse.

 

CHAMP, the CampFire Housing Access Model Program, continues to assist Camp Fire and other wildfire survivors in securing rental housing through landlord incentives and the payment of program participant's move-in costs. In addition, the CHAMP program provided case management services to program participants, which included helping Camp Fire survivors with obtaining federal housing vouchers. From July 1, 2022 through Oct 31, 2022, the CHAMP program assisted 17 households, which includes 18 adults and 11 children.  Between July 1, 2022 and October 31, 2022, the CHAMP program received 37 new applications, in addition to the over 300 households that lost their homes in wildfires and still need stable affordable housing. Recently, CHAMP was particularly pleased to help a program participant who was not only a Camp Fire survivor but also a Bear Fire survivor as well. After losing his housing twice from wildfires, this individual found himself in a FEMA trailer and running out of time before the FEMA housing closed. CHAMP worked closely with this participant’s Disaster Case Manager and was able to pay the security deposit, first month’s space rent, and the towing fees to move a purchased trailer from a nearby county to a mobile home and RV park in Butte County. CHAMP also paid the remaining rent owed to FEMA when the participant was able to move out of FEMA housing and finally into his own home again.

 

Thank you so much for your continued support for our work in creating affordable housing options for folks in the Chico community. It's because of our many generous donors and great organizations like GlobalGiving that we can continue supporting our clients who are now in homes and developing future projects to create more low-income housing for those who are still living in homelessness.

Bridgett Cooper after 2 years in a CHAT residence
Bridgett Cooper after 2 years in a CHAT residence
Camp Fire survivor who found housing with CHAMP
Camp Fire survivor who found housing with CHAMP

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HUSH participant Mari graduates from the program
HUSH participant Mari graduates from the program

Chico Housing Action Team (CHAT) is happy to report more growth and continued financial stability since our last report in March 2022. We continue to enjoy the support of over 180 monthly sustaining donors who give nearly $7000 per month, which is a great source of sustainable income. We have seen an incredible growth in our staff in the past several months, including new office support staff, a volunteer coordinator, and additional maintenance and construction crew members. We are now at 28 staff members, which is up from 11 eleven employees at the end of last year. 

On the program side, CHAT is now housing over 280 residents, including nearly 90 children, in over 70 residences in Chico. We continue to create new housing opportunities, including some new properties we've purchased that we hope to be able to share more information on shortly, and we continue to add more rental units that we master-lease from the owners. We're continuing to fill up a triplex that we recently purchased for the Wildflower Housing program for up to 12 folks with mental illness or other substantial challenges that need intensive case manager support. The additional case managers who we were able to hire for the Housing Now program are working closely with the volunteer house support teams to provide an extraordinary level of support for folks most in need of it. We were also recently able to "graduate" a family from our HUSH program. This program helps families that are in crisis with rental housing at a below-market rate, combined with intensive case management to stabilize them, connect them with resources, and help them find permanent affordable housing. Mari, a young mother in our HUSH program, is caring for her five children with no family support, but she was able to get stabilized in the program, get some help with getting some job skills and childcare for her children, and find affordable housing on her own. We presented her with a graduation certificate and we're all so proud of what she's been able to do for herself.

Another area we're moving forward with is creating Memorandums of Understanding (MOUs) with other service agencies in our community who have clients who need help staying housed. CHAT is becoming recognized in our community as an organization that does an excellent job of keeping people housed. These MOUs with other agencies will let CHAT provide case management support and other volunteer support to let those agencies be more successful. They in turn can provide the expertise and knowledge of working with their particular population so CHAT staff and volunteers become more informed about those populations.

CHAMP, the CampFire Housing Access Model Program, continues to assist Camp Fire survivors in securing rental housing through landlord incentives and the payment of program participant's move-in costs. From March 1, 2022, through June 30, 2022, CHAMP assisted an additional 11 households (including 14 adults and 8 children) with first month rents, security deposits, rental assistance, the purchase of new bed frames and mattresses, emergency hotel stays, and towing fees to move a program participant’s RV into a permanent location in a mobile home and RV Park. In addition, the CHAMP program provided case management services to program participants, which included helping Camp Fire survivors with obtaining federal housing vouchers. Because this program is becoming recognized as particularly successful in our area, CHAT staffers from the CHAMP program were recently interviewed for a Scripps news agency video spot and article about how natural disasters and home prices contribute to homelessness.

Recently, CHAMP was particularly pleased to help a program participant who was not only a Camp Fire survivor but also a Bear Fire survivor as well. After losing his housing twice from wildfires, this individual found himself in a FEMA trailer and running out of time before the FEMA housing closed. CHAMP worked closely with this participant’s Disaster Case Manager and was able to pay the security deposit, first month’s space rent, and the towing fees to move a purchased trailer from a nearby county to a mobile home and RV park in Butte County. CHAMP also paid the remaining rent owed to FEMA when the participant was able to move out of FEMA housing and finally into his own home again.

We're continuing to move forward with plans for Everhart Village, a 20-unit sleeping-cabins project we are developing in collaboration with the Butte County Dept of Behavioral Health. Volunteers are working with our Everhart Village shelter-units manager Charles Withuhn and volunteer construction coordinator Ken Dickson to make the sleeping cabins ready. CHAT staff are working closely with Butte County Behavioral Health staff to develop the program for the residents, while we're also working to secure all the permits and plan approvals needed from the county. We are now planning our groundbreaking for July 13th. We'll also host an online community forum on July 14th, where several CHAT and Butte County Behavioral Health staffers will be on hand to give the latest updates and take questions from community members. We're planning to be able to open the village to Butte County Behavioral Health clients sometime this fall.

Thank you so much for your continued support for our work in creating affordable housing options for folks in the Chico community. It's because of our many generous donors and great organizations like GlobalGiving that we can continue supporting our clients who are now in homes and developing future projects to create more low-income housing for those who are still living in homelessness.

Maintenance and construction crew
Maintenance and construction crew
Meeting at Everhart Village site with BCBH staff
Meeting at Everhart Village site with BCBH staff

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This triplex is now home to Wildflower Housing.
This triplex is now home to Wildflower Housing.

Chico Housing Action Team (CHAT) is happy to report more growth and continued financial stability since our last report in November 2021. We continue to enjoy the support of over 180 monthly sustaining donors who give nearly $7000 per month, which is a great source of sustainable income. In the past three months we've been able to hire several new staff members with our new executive director Nicole Drummond starting the first of the year and providing excellent leadership, plus several new Housing Now case managers, warehouse and maintenance assistants, and a new accountant.

On the program side, CHAT is now housing approximately 232 residents, including 89 children, in 72 residences in Chico, compared to our report in November when we counted 185 individuals, including 56 children, and 63 locations. We continue to create new housing opportunities, including a triplex that we recently purchased and transformed into our Wildflower Housing program for up to 12 folks with mental illness or other substantial challenges that need intensive case manager support. We've recently secured several grants from the state and county governments to let us hire additional case managers for the Housing Now program. This program has relied on volunteers who have done a stellar job of creating supportive relationships with CHAT residents, and who will now benefit from the additional support and expertise of a top-notch crew who bring a whole new skill set in helping residents learn additional life skills and find permanent affordable housing if that's what they want.

Our CHAMP program continues to find housing for Camp Fire survivors via landlord incentives and assistance with up-front costs for securing a rental. From October 2021 till February of this year, CHAMP assisted an additional 11 households with first month rents, security deposits, rental assistance, the purchase of new beds and frames, and an emergency hotel stay, in addition to case management services, which included helping Camp Fire survivors with obtaining federal housing vouchers.

We're continuing to move forward with plans for Everhart Village, a 20-unit sleeping-cabins project we are developing in collaboration with the Butte County Dept of Behavioral Health. Volunteers are continuing to work with our Everhart Village shelter-units manager Charles Withuhn and our volunteer construction coordinator Ken Dickson to make the sleeping cabins ready. We recently hired a project manager for Everhart Village, Gary Lee, to oversee all the construction at the village and we're fortunate to have such an experienced contractor on board. We were so thankful to receive a generous donation of materials for the sleeping cabins from Sierra North Valley REALTORS in December, and they set up an online materials wishlist for the public to donate specific items. We were also given a $200,000 grant from Cal Water in December to cover all the water-infrastructure costs for Everhart Village, which will be of tremendous help for the overall success of this project. We're hoping to have a ground-breaking for Everhart Village sometime in April, and we plan to be able to welcome the first residents to Everhart Village by June of this year.

We want to share a story about one of our residents, Stephen, who was living in a CHAT shared residence for folks with mental illness. He had to find an individual apartment that could pass Section 8 inspection so he could get custody of his daughters, and he was very anxious about whether he'd be able to make it happen in time for the December 22nd custody hearing where he would need to prove he had housing. With CHAT's help, he was able to secure a Section 8 housing voucher and find an affordable apartment. The CHAT maintenance team worked very hard to make time consuming and expensive repairs on a two- bedroom apartment, in time for him to get custody of his daughters so they could move in just before Christmas. CHAT was able to provide some furniture, and Butte County Behavioral Health provided funding for the first month’s rent and deposit. The family is receiving counseling through Youth for Change, while Stephen is receiving counseling through Butte County Behavioral Health. The daughters are receiving help in school subjects through the Boys and Girls Club, and the Disability Action Center has provided a battery for Stephen’s C-Pap machine in case of an electric shutoff. It was a beautiful collaboration of agencies plus CHAT staff and volunteers that made a difference for this family.

Thank you so much for your continued support for our work in creating affordable housing options for folks in the Chico community. It's because of our many generous donors and great organizations like GlobalGiving that we can continue supporting our clients who are now in homes and developing future projects to create more low-income housing for those who are still living in homelessness.

Stephen at his new apartment for Christmas
Stephen at his new apartment for Christmas
Board VP Bob Trausch and EV project mgr Gary Lee
Board VP Bob Trausch and EV project mgr Gary Lee

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Sleeping cabins for Everhart Village
Sleeping cabins for Everhart Village

Chico Housing Action Team (CHAT) is happy to report more growth and continued financial stability since our last report in June 2021. Since then, we've gained 10 new monthly donors, for a total of 183 monthly sustaining donors. These donors combined give nearly $7000 per month, which is a great source of sustainable income. We attribute much of that growth to GlobalGiving's incentive program for matching the first month's donation for monthly donors, as well as GlobalGiving's overall guidance and support for our mission.

On the program side, CHAT is housing approximately 185 individuals, including 56 children, in 63 locations in Chico, which is an increase from 175 individuals in 56 locations in our last report. Most of those folks are housed through our master lease program called "Housing Now". We pay rent to the landlords and provide basic maintenance. In turn, our previously-homeless residents pay affordable rents to us. We provide case management with referrals to social service agencies, supplemental food, encouragement, and friendship. Several families housed through our HUSH program are also included in the Housing Now totals.

We continue to create new housing opportunities, including a second veterans house for folks who've served in our military branches and who were homeless or at risk of becoming homeless. We have also leased a third house for the Redwood Housing program, a collaboration with CSU-Chico to find affordable housing for students who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless. We're so proud to be working with the Basic Needs Program at CSU-Chico to provide more students with housing they can afford. Ten residents are now being housed in three houses through our Redwood Housing program for students, which is an increase from the eight residents in two houses in the last report. Also, eight individuals are being housed through our CHAMP program for Camp Fire survivors who need help finding affordable housing. 

Over time, we have purchased six properties where our residents are housed, with an additional house that came into CHAT ownership through a grant from Butte County. Since our last report we have been able to purchase a tri-plex with room for twelve folks, and two more additional houses on one property, plus we have an eight-unit property in escrow. Owning some properties of our own is important because property owners who we lease from will sometimes want to sell their properties or move family members into the properties, which can create extreme difficulties for our residents.

We're also continuing to move forward with plans for Everhart Village, a shelter-units project we are developing in collaboration with Butte County Behavioral Health. Behavioral Health will refer clients who are homeless and undergoing mental health treatment, while CHAT will build and maintain the village and provide additional services and programs. We raised over $125,000 in our recent crowdfunding campaign for Everhart Village, which will fully fund the 200-foot-long road into the village, which is needed for emergency vehicles to be able to turn around and so we can bring in the community center building and the sleeping cabins. The additional funds will also go towards funding the excavation work needed for the electrical and sewer infrastructure. Volunteers are continuing to work with our shelter-units manager Charles Withuhn to make the sleeping cabins ready for Behavioral Health clients, with work on framing windows, installing plumbing, and installing wiring. 

Thank you for your continued support. We're searching for more housing opportunities every day and we are actively looking to purchase land or existing buildings to create multiple low-income housing units. It is thanks to our many generous donors and great organizations like GlobalGiving that we can continue pursuing these plans. Below is a story from our recent newsletter about a family we've been working with for years to help them get over several major hurdles. 

 

Jaydon has lived in a tent. He’s lived in a car. He’s attended 23 different schools. And, next May, he is graduating from Chico High School with “A’ and “B” grades on his academic record. He has a job and a girlfriend, and looks forward to life after high school and continuing his involvement in theater arts as a singer and actor. If ever there has been a case of persistence and resilience, it’s the Green family, who have been CHAT residents for several years.

Jaydon’s dad, Poney, is celebrating two years of clean and sober living. Teri, Poney’s wife and Jaydon’s step-mom, has had her own issues. But their relationship has survived the stresses of homelessness and addiction – they now have been married 10 years. Poney and Teri met in Sacramento. They were both employed and shared a nice apartment. Due to what Poney calls “bad choices,” they ended up unhoused, living in a tent next to a creek. Poney says drugs and alcohol brought the family to the point where they were “just surviving.” Adding to the family’s problems were a series of serious illnesses that caused Poney to be hospitalized several times, due to pneumonia and a nearly-fatal infection. Teri is from Chico, which is why the family ended up here.

Teri says her family confronted her and Poney with an intervention. In the spirit of “tough love,” they sent Poney to rehab in Redding and sent Teri to another program. Meanwhile, Jaydon lived on and off with his mother when things got bad. Somehow, he persevered. Teri and Poney met some CHAT representatives at the Jesus Center. They were placed in CHAT’s first shared house. They found a second family there and bonded with the other residents. Then they had an opportunity to have a CHAT house of their own. Unfortunately, according to Poney, “The drinking got out of control and we went off the deep end.” They were asked to leave. But a couple of people at CHAT decided to give them one more chance. And they’ve taken advantage of it.

Now, Poney and Teri both work at the front desk of a local motel. They both say they love their jobs. Poney also is taking three business and computer classes at Butte College. The family’s faith is important to them. “There’s been a lot of praying,” says Poney. They have begun attending a local church. Recently, Jaydon said something to his dad that touched his heart. With tears in his eyes, Poney recalls, “Jaydon said to me, ‘Dad, I’m proud of you. I see what you’re doing. You beat all the odds and you’re breaking a chain’.”

Community center being delivered to Chico
Community center being delivered to Chico
Exec Dir Leslie Johnson doing ad promo for KZFR
Exec Dir Leslie Johnson doing ad promo for KZFR
Another family moving into a HUSH program house
Another family moving into a HUSH program house
CHAMP family moving into their permanent housing
CHAMP family moving into their permanent housing
Poney, Teri & Jaydon have overcome so many hurdles
Poney, Teri & Jaydon have overcome so many hurdles

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Five sleeping units arrive for Everhart Village
Five sleeping units arrive for Everhart Village

Chico Housing Action Team (CHAT) is happy to report more growth and continued financial stability since our last report in March 2021. We raised over $8000 in donations and matching funds in a single day during the recent Bonus Day donation campaign sponsored by GlobalGiving. Also, since our last report in March, we've gained 19 new monthly donors, for a total of 173 monthly sustaining donors. These donors combined give more than $6,600 per month, which is a great source of sustainable income. We attribute much of that growth to GlobalGiving's incentive program for matching the first month's donation for monthly donors, as well as GlobalGiving's overall guidance and support for our mission.

On the program side, CHAT now houses more than 170 people in over 60 locations in Chico through our master lease program called "Housing Now". We pay rent to the landlords and provide basic maintenance. In turn, our previously-homeless residents pay affordable rents to us. We provide case management with referrals to social service agencies, supplemental food, encouragement, and friendship. Over time, we have purchased four of the properties where our residents are housed, and a fifth house came into CHAT ownership through a grant from Butte County.

We continue to create new housing opportunities, including a second “Mercy House” for folks who were homeless or at risk of becoming homeless and who have serious, chronic medical conditions. This program is run in collaboration with the congregation at Faith Lutheran Church of Chico and Congregation Beth Israel, both long-time supporters of CHAT who are providing housing support and case management. We have also leased another house for the Redwood Housing program, a collaboration with CSU-Chico to find affordable housing for students who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless. Students are due to move into this house during July and August. Our first Redwood Housing residence is going strong and we're helping students with their goals. Our first student resident, Kyle, recently was in a car accident but CHAT maintenance staff were able to build him a ramp so he can use his wheelchair and crutches. (see picture). And recently another Redwood Housing student in need of a car was gifted with one from a CHAT supporter, who asked only that the car be given directly to someone in need. (see picture)

We are happy to report that the city of Chico recognized our housing work with a sizeable grant from federal Community Development Block Grants funds that will be used to continue our very successful “HUSH” program (Hand Up Supportive Housing) for families that need housing stability to get back on their feet. We're pleased to report that two more families in our HUSH program have graduated from the program into permanent affordable housing. This is the "continuum of care" in action, where folks move from homelessness or a shelter and into transitional housing like what CHAT offers, then after getting stabilized and after receiving dedicated, consistent, and caring case management, they move into an affordable housing situation that can never be taken away from them.

We have also received a grant from the North Valley Community Foundation and the Butte Strong Fund to help sustain and expand our CHAMP program for Camp Fire survivors, which means we're now able to hire another housing case manager for that program. Our CHAMP program provides landlord incentives and help with security deposits and other fees. This program is especially needed for folks who may have problems with their rental or credit histories, and we've been able to help over 20 more Camp Fire households find affordable housing in the past three months. We continue to find Camp Fire survivors who are homeless, or in danger of becoming so, and who have not been able to get assistance any other way, and we're confident that hiring an additional case manager will reduce the backlog of folks needing help.

We're also continuing to move forward with plans for Everhart Village, a shelter-units project we are developing in collaboration with Butte County Behavioral Health. Behavioral Health will refer clients who are homeless and undergoing mental health treatment, while CHAT will build and maintain the village and provide additional services and programs. We’ve hired a recent graduate with a Masters in Social Work degree from CSU-Chico to develop the program and budget, and we have two interns from CSU-Chico working on the program as well. We recently started work on the Everhart Village site with the first step of removing an old well (see picture). The first sleeping cabins for Everhart Village have arrived and are being worked at off-site (see picture). Volunteers are helping our shelter-units manager Charles Withuhn make the sleeping cabins ready for Behavioral Health clients with work on framing windows, installing plumbing, and installing wiring. 

Thank you for your continued support. We're searching for more housing opportunities every day and we are actively looking to purchase land or existing buildings to create multiple low-income housing units. It is thanks to our many generous donors and great organizations like GlobalGiving that we can continue pursuing these plans.

 

Redwood Housing student with car from supporter
Redwood Housing student with car from supporter
Board members Bob T and Bob V chat with residents
Board members Bob T and Bob V chat with residents
Ramp for Kyle being built by CHAT staff
Ramp for Kyle being built by CHAT staff
Bob T. oversees removal of old well from EV site
Bob T. oversees removal of old well from EV site
Board member Sheldon enjoys cake with residents
Board member Sheldon enjoys cake with residents

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Organization Information

Chico Housing Action Team

Location: Chico, CA - USA
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @ChicoHousAction
Project Leader:
Theresa O'Connor
Chico, CA United States
$143,603 raised of $500,000 goal
 
2,474 donations
$356,397 to go
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