CHICO HOUSING ACTION TEAM
From Homelessness to Housing
Making a Difference In Chico Since 2013
As of March 2020, we're housing 152 people at 42 sites
The need for low-cost housing in Chico and Butte County continues to exceed availability. We receive requests for housing almost daily that we cannot meet. With your help we could so so much more!
Our current programs:
Housing Now, where we rent rooms in houses or apartments to individuals and families and provide access to services.
Hand Up Supportive Housing, where we rent homes to families and provide access to services
Our new CHAMP program starting Jan 2020, funded via a grant from the California Community Foundation, which creates incentives for landlords to rent to low-income people
CHAT's mission is to ensure that everyone in our community has access to housing they can afford. Some of the ways we do this:
providing low-income rental housing through master-leasing
providing access for residents to supportive services like food donations and health-care
connecting them with other community resources
working with them to create goals and help them develop life skills,
developing visionary alternative housing projects.
March 24th, 2020: Simplicity Village Re-Imagined
In a very tough but necessary decision, CHAT has formally withdrawn our proposal for the Simplicity Village project and has cancelled the lease on the property, due to the lawsuit that was filed against the project. We are disappointed, but CHAT continues to work on housing formerly homeless people. CHAT has 150 people in its homes right now and we are still *deeply* committed to creating a tiny house village or a similar affordable housing project. We are looking at several possibilities for locations in Chico but would always welcome more leads.
The full press release from the board is below:
Chico Housing Action Team on Tuesday, March 17, withdrew our request to the City of Chico to be permitted to construct a "tiny house village", to be known as Simplicity Village, on property located on Notre Dame Avenue and Morrow Lane in Chico, and has disclaimed any entitlement arising out of the City’s Official Planning Director Interpretation approving that project. CHAT has also cancelled our lease on the Notre Dame property.
Simplicity Village was planned to house up to 46 seniors in a community of 33 “tiny homes” or sleeping cabins, surrounded by common facilities for cooking, laundry, showers, meeting space and ADA compliant restrooms. Over the past several years, hundreds of community members and organizations have generously contributed funds, services, and thousands of hours of time toward this goal. However, late last year, CHAT was named in a lawsuit filed against the City of Chico by a business owner who is a neighbor of the planned residential community. The lawsuit seeks to block the project on grounds that the City’s approval for it was legally invalid.
In order to avoid costly and burdensome litigation, we have decided after much deliberation to terminate our occupancy of the current Simplicity Village site and withdraw our request to develop Simplicity Village at that site. We have taken this step reluctantly but necessarily, in order to achieve a settlement and/or dismissal of the lawsuit so that CHAT can continue to focus all of our efforts into creating affordable housing opportunities for our most vulnerable homeless citizens. We remain fully committed to finding a suitable location, and building a tiny house village, or other similar affordable housing project as soon as possible. Our community, and especially our homeless seniors, families, and those who are sick and disabled, cannot wait any longer.
We want to express deep gratitude to all of our supporters who are making it possible to continue forward with this vision. We're assuring our supporters that their donations toward Simplicity Village will be used to create creative and affordable housing opportunities, even if we don’t yet know exactly what that will look like. We also very much appreciates the City's efforts to work with CHAT to address this vital need for low income housing opportunities, which of course is more urgent than ever, in light of our current worldwide health crisis.
Chico's housing situation is in crisis.
Even before the Camp Fire, the rental vacancy rate in Chico was just over 1%. Now in Summer 2019, it's even less than 1%. The Camp Fire displaced around 35,000 residents (CNBC, 5/16/2019). Chico's population increased by 20% almost overnight.
Many Section 8 voucher holders are unable to find any housing they can afford. Before the Camp Fire, only 25% of Section 8 voucher holders in Butte County were able to find housing in the allowed time frame. Since the fire, that number has dropped to 10% (Chico Enterprise-Record, 8/02/2019).
Rents are going up quickly and more renters are being evicted (Chico News & Review, 7/11/2019) as owners sell their properties to cash in on the tight real estate market.
There is not enough affordable housing in Chico or Butte County for everyone who needs it. We have many applicants that we don't have space for. Unhoused seniors in Chico especially face difficulty finding affordable housing on extremely limited incomes.
CHAT is creating solutions by:
acting as property manager for rentals throughout Chico and providing free maintenance
providing rentals to low-income residents at no more than 30% of their income
providing supportive services from skilled social workers for residents who need them and connecting residents to other local service agencies
getting funding from grassroots donations and from grants from corporations, foundations, and public agencies
NEWS ARTICLES AND THE CHAT BLOG
Articles About CHAT, Housing & Homelessness in Butte County and California, and Tiny Homes for the Unhoused
3/03/2020 - Chico Enterprise-Record
2/27/2020 - Chico Enterprise-Record
2/22/2020 - Chico Enterprise-Record
2/18/2020 - The Stranger
2/13/2020 - Chico Enterprise-Record
1/29/2020 - Scoop.me
1/14/2020 - San Francisco Chronicle
1/13/2020 - Sacramento Bee
1/08/2020 - Politico.com
1/04/2020 - Chico Enterprise-Record
1/02/2020 - Chico News and Review
12/14/2019 - KOMO News
12/05/2019 - Chico Enterprise-Record
12/05/2019 - Chico Enterprise-Record
11/29/2019 - Chico Enterprise-Record
11/28/2019 - Chico Enterprise-Record
11/26/2019 - The California Aggie
December 2019 - Harper's Magazine
11/13/2019 - Chico Enterprise-Record
11/11/2019 - People Magazine
11/08/2019 - Patch.com/Healdsburg
11/08/2019 - Huffington P0st
11/06/2019 - Bloomberg.com