COMMUNITY ACTION. POWERFUL RESULTS.
Back in 1991, the Homeless Task Force of Lafayette-Orinda Presbyterian Church alerted its neighboring faith-based communities to the growing crisis of homelessness in Contra Costa County, particularly for families with special needs. Fifteen congregations responded by forming a coalition: Contra Costa Interfaith Transitional Housing (CCITH). CCITH began educating its congregation members about homelessness in the County. The charter member congregations incorporated as an independent nonprofit entity. With support from its member congregations, CCITH launched a capital campaign and purchased Garden Park Apartments. The campaign was joined in 2000 by our development partner and co-sponsor, Mercy Housing California. Together, we ultimately raised an impressive $5million from pubic and private sources. Due to the unprecedented cooperation and commitment of faith-based communities and many others, CCITH was able to purchase and rehab the Garden Park Apartments, a twenty-eight unit building in Pleasant Hill.
While the project was in development, the County completed an analysis of its housing needs. The lack of permanent, affordable housing was identified as the most critical gap in the County. The County found that Contra Costa families leaving shelters and transitional housing programs are often forced to return to homelessness because they cannot find rental housing they can afford.
The CCITH Board of Directors responded to the need by changing its mission from developing transitional housing to that of providing permanent affordable housing with on-site support services. The agency name was changed to Contra Costa Interfaith Housing (CCIH) in order to reflect the new mission.
CCIH and Mercy Housing California completed the renovations at Garden Park Apartments. The refurbished site includes a community room, disability-accessible apartments, and office space for the provision of on-site support services. The project opened to tenants in December 2004. Mercy Services Corporation manages the facility and CCIH provides the services that support tenant self-sufficiency, health, and family stability. We are proud that over 90% of our tenants have remained in permanent housing.