CCIH Housing Matters: Summer 2018

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A Promising Solution to Help End the Affordable Housing Crisis


t is no secret that we are experiencing a housing crisis in our community. In fact, one in three Californians cannot afford rent. According to the County’s 2016-2017 Continuum of Care annual report, the County’s median rent has increased 25 percent since 2000, while median renter income has decreased three percent (adjusting for inflation). The lack of affordable housing has made it near impossible for many families and seniors trying to make ends meet. However, with your help, we can work to make more affordable housing a reality by supporting the Veterans and Affordable Housing Bond Act, which is on the ballot this November. This act will allocate four billion dollars in state funds towards new construction, rehabilitation, and preservation of permanent and transitional affordable housing for low-income and veteran residents. This also includes three-hundred million for home loans for formerly homeless and poverty impacted families. Homeownership is a principal source of wealth accumulation for most Americans, and provides protection from rising housing costs. Homeownership is an effective way of helping break the intergenerational cycle of poverty. Because housing alone is not sufficient for most families to recover from homelessness, the Veterans and Affordable Housing Bond Act also includes funding toward direct services, which are vital for families and individuals that are recovering from the trauma of homelessness. The Veterans and Affordable Housing Bond Act will not only help shelter those facing housing insecurity, it will also provide the most vulnerable

members in our community – working poor families, children, seniors, and people with disabilities - with vital support services to help them successfully transition into stable homes, permanently. Supporters of the Veterans and Affordable Housing Bond Act include Housing California, Affordable Housing Now, Habitat for Humanity, Mercy Housing, Resources for Community Development, and the City of Walnut Creek. Contra Costa Interfaith Housing is also a proud supporter of the Veterans and Affordable Housing Bond Act, and we encourage the CCIH community to help get this important bond passed this November. Loans and mortgage assistance Research on lowering construction costs

10% 10%

Funding for housing nonprofits


Home purchase assistance


Improving neighborhoods to improve housing Improving transit for low income areas Repairing and constructing additional housing





Volunteer Opportunities Are You Bilingual? CCIH is looking for bilingual volunteers who are proficient in both English and Spanish for our after-school program in Concord (Lakeside Apartments). Our community at Lakeside Apartments has a large Spanish speaking population, and there are several students who have homework in both English and Spanish. Bilingual volunteers would be a huge asset to our multicultural students and their families.

Provide a Meal Every second Thursday of the month, Garden Park Apartment residents come together for a community meal. Sign up today to share a meal with CCIH residents, today!

We Can Use a Truckload of Help If you have a truck and time during the week, please consider helping us to pick up and haul furniture to apartments for new residents stepping into their very own homes, often for the first time. Helpers receive calls 3-4 times per year—never on a weekend and always within the County. Mileage is tax deductible!

If you are interested in any of our volunteer opportunities, please email for more information.

Celebrating Ten Years of Ruby


ontra Costa Interfaith Housing celebrated ten years of Ruby Slippers – There’s No Place Like Home on February 4 at the Blackhawk Automotive Museum. This year, CCIH’s annual auction gala raised a record-breaking $240,000 to benefit the most vulnerable people in our community! Guests enjoyed an evening filled with live and silent auctions, and dancing the night away to David Martin’s House Party. We extend our sincere gratitude

to our wonderful sponsors, donors, volunteers, and the Ruby Slippers committee for an unforgettable night. We’ll see you next year on February 9, 2019!

“Hope. There’s always hope.”


ope is not always easy, just ask Kevin. He is one of the 48 formerly chronically homeless adults housed through CCIH’s scatteredsite housing program, a program for individuals (half of whom are seniors) who have a disability and have experienced chronic homelessness. Kevin was one of the first people housed through this program launched in 2015. We sat down with Kevin to learn more about his story. “It’s sort of like a continuation,” Kevin said after taking a sip of his cola, “I was receiving services from another provider, and then CCIH took over.” He emphasized how the support services CCIH offers have helped him progress towards his goals. Before becoming housed, Kevin spent two years on the streets. He is a veteran, having served overseas in 1980’s. Upon returning to the States, he fell victim to substance abuse and faced years of housing insecurity.

However, his optimism did not falter. Kevin is eager to engage with support services. He receives help from CCIH’s licensed mental health clinicians, Lia Taddei and Xay Vang. “He was chronically unemployed when I first met him. Kevin tried hard to find employment to no avail. We worked together to get him the job he has now. It made an enormous difference in his selfesteem. He really wants to give back,” Lia said. “I’ve been clean for 15 years,” Kevin said, “and I’m working full-time for the shelter I started at five years ago. Kind of like a full circle!” Kevin works at a homeless shelter in Antioch, and finds it a blessing to be able to give back. “When someone calls me into work, I don’t cringe. I want to go, I want to work.” Though he has been through hardships, Kevin encourages people who face similar obstacles. “Hope, there’s always hope. You just got to look for it.”

Innovative Approaches at Lakeside Apartments


CIH’s Youth Enrichment Centers are a vital support for formerly homeless and extremely low-income youth. Youth Enrichment Centers offer homework help, individualized tutoring, healthy snacks, and social skill building. This program addresses the social and economic factors outside the classroom that impact student success, and provides critical supports to close learning gaps derived from years of instability. Unfortunately, in 2016, CCIH’s partner organization lost vital funding for the Youth Enrichment Center at Lakeside Apartments

in Concord. Instead of cutting the program, CCIH began to immediately fundraise for the shortfall and was able to keep the program open one day per week. Last summer, CCIH successfully stabilized funding to expand the program to five days per week. With the expanded schedule, Lakeside now offers “Fun Fridays,” filled with hands-on activities (such as robotics) to build students’ academic skills and love of learning. “Fun Fridays” creates an environment that nurtures relationships between students and volunteers. “For many

of our students, school is simply not enough support. Without our program, many would continue to fall behind.” said Carrie Guasco, Lakeside Youth Enrichment Coordinator. Moreover, volunteers and staff provide positive role models and consistent connections, boosting student confidence and self-esteem. CCIH remains committed to the communities we serve, and are thrilled at the academic and social improvements students are exhibiting. CCIH is grateful for its supporters and volunteers for the dedication they show students every day.

Ending Homelessness: A Leap of Faith


CIH is rooted in the belief that a united community has the power to end homelessness in Contra Costa County. Inspired by their faith, Lafayette-Orinda Presbyterian Church (LOPC) reached out to neighboring faith communities across a variety of religious traditions, to invite them to join the fight to end homelessness. Fifteen congregations responded and a coalition began: Contra Costa Interfaith Housing. In honor of CCIH’s interfaith roots, CCIH sat down with two volunteers: Amy Faltz (Temple Isaiah) and Steve Crocker (LOPC) to learn more about their passion and experience as an interfaith partner. Q. How does your faith influence your support CCIH’s mission? Amy: “Tikun Olum” is a Jewish tenet that stresses community importance to the world. We are responsible for helping repair what is broken in the world. This concept

is infused in each Jewish community in terms of social justice and our commitment to the world, not just Jewish faith or religions. This value inspires our commitment to CCIH. Steve: The commitments of life, career, and family are frequently overwhelming. Amidst the chaos, I think there’s no way I can take on more. Then I remind myself that I’m a servant of the Lord, and if not me, who will serve those in need? Having the opportunity to serve others brings life back into balance. There is no greater joy than to give back to the few places like CCIH, where my gifts are needed and appreciated.

Q. What work at CCIH are you most excited about? Amy: CCIH provides services for many who often don’t have the skills to navigate the world, and are suffering from food and housing insecurity. CCIH’s model of “we’re not just going to put a roof over your head, we’re going to teach you tools to succeed,” provides volunteers with many ways to make an impact. I’ve been involved with CCIH for over 13 years and have seen the success of the model of “not just a home.” I have seen kids going to college and getting scholarships. I have seen the power of the supportive services. Steve: I get most excited about facility upgrades. We recently replaced a rusted-out BBQ at GPA with a great grill. It’s great to know that there are a lot of folks out there willing to give of their resources to help others in need. Thank you CCIH for giving me the opportunity to serve!

Contra Costa Interfaith Housing


399 Taylor Boulevard, Suite 115 Pleasant Hill, California 94523



Volunteering in Action!

Mac Graves, local teen, helps prepare an entire apartment for CCIH’s new Garden Park resident.

Beth Chaim hosting a bountiful Thanksgiving resident dinner at Garden Park Apartments.

Agodi, a high school senior, tutoring a student at Los Medanos Village.

A Los Medanos Village alumni student volunteers at CCIH’s robotics summer camp.

Lakeside volunteers helping youth in the garden.

Lakeside volunteer, Nancy, standing proud with her summer art camp students displaying their final art project.