Christian Church Homes

CCH – The Mission Rolls On 

Don Stump, President/CEO of Christian Church Homes

Don Stump, President/CEO of Christian Church Homes

Dear Friends:

CCH currently employs a few hundred people and provides safe and affordable housing, along with an array of supportive services, to thousands of seniors. We are now housed in Walnut Creek, Ca where the population is 69,500. In our 61 year history, we have provided safe and beautiful homes to more seniors than make up this entire city – something worthy of accolades.

As the baby boomer population continues to age, our country is now seeing more than a fifth of its population ranging in age from 65 to 100. These hearty souls need a complexity of services; transportation, medical support, financial advice and, like myself, hearing aids. Substantial research indicates the number one thing to improve quality of life for seniors is a safe and affordable place to call home – and that is our mission!

CCH has very definite and clear plans to help meet this ever growing and complex challenge of an aging America. Plans are on the drawing board for many new facilities in multiple cities and to continue the sound maintenance and operation of our properties, including our first community in Santa Cruz which has been in operation for 60 years.

Besides our highly-trained staff, CCH has a committed board of directors. The board recently announced a search for a new President/CEO to head our corporate team. In our first 60 years, we have had six CEO’s, and the search is on for our next great leader. When that search is completed, we will share the name of the next good soul who will lead us forward. We stand ready with a dedicated and capable team to ensure a smooth transition in meeting the complex challenges ahead for our aging senior adult population.

Best Wishes,

 

Don Stump

Acting President/CEO

How Livable is Your Community?

The AARP Livability Index: Great Neighborhoods for All Ages scores every neighborhood and community in the United States for services and amenities that affect people’s lives. Measures taken into account include housing, transportation, opportunities for social engagement and more – all of which are designed to support residents as they age.

Developed in 2015 by the AARP Public Policy Institute, the tool is able “to help evaluate community policies, compare communities and measure livability.” It also can be used to help identify gaps between what communities have and what residents need to thrive. In June 2018, the index was relaunched with updated data and site features.

Click here to access the tool and to learn more about the livability of your community.

Older Renters Often Behind on the Rent

Nationwide, approximately 583,400 older adult renters were behind in their rent as of July 2021 and even as the economy begins to recover, there has not been a consistent decline in the number of older renters (defined as age 65 and older) who remain behind in their payments. Additionally, nearly 144,000 older renters who are current in their payments are not confident they will be able to make their next month’s payments on time.

Since April 2020, the Census Bureau has tracked the number of renters struggling to make payments. In a paper released last August by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, low income older adult renters of color were found more likely to be behind in their payments than their counterparts. Additionally, older renters who are non-white with incomes below $25,000 also were more likely to be behind in their rents. Renters with mobility issues, such as having severe difficulty walking and climbing stairs, also were found to be more likely behind in their payments.

About 32.3 percent of older renters had a fear of eviction. The level rose to about 64 percent among those with a disability who were behind in their rent and worried about having to find accessible and affordable housing.

The report also found more than one-fourth of older adults who were behind in their rent also faced food insecurity (about 15 percent), difficulty meeting expenses (33 percent) and frequently felt anxious (46 percent). These finding suggest unmet financial needs and related situations contribute to older adults struggling to make ends meet.

In contrast to these nationwide statistics, most CCH renters are able to make their payments. CCH works closely with our residents to ensure they are aware of agency programs which help low-income renters to make their monthly payments. Many residents qualify to have as much as 30 percent or more of their rent subsidized through local assistance plans. As a result, during a given month less than two percent of CCH residents are behind in their rents.

CCH also has a Resident Care Fund (RCF), which offers residents a life line to take care of critical needs such as unexpected medical costs, food, transportation issues and support services. The RCF brings comfort and peace of mind to residents during a moment of crisis when a caring hand is needed the most. This one-time gift of support is often all that’s needed to help alleviate some of the fear of unforeseen financial woes and put residents back on a firm financial standing.

For more information about the Census Bureau report, click here. If you’d like to lend a caring hand to CCH residents during a critical time of need, read more about the Resident Care Fund here.

Religious Groups Jump Parking Hurdles

Passage of AB 2244 by the California legislature on June 30 and signed into law by Governor Gavin Newson in July builds on previous efforts to reduce parking requirements for religious institutions planning to construct affordable housing projects on their properties.

Prior to the bill’s passage, many California religious communities had been working with local municipalities to turn underused portions of their properties into housing developments. These plans hit a roadblock when some local governments interpreted that a state law affecting residential parking only applied to existing properties and not to new construction. This interpretation limited the applicability of this housing option for congregations looking to address housing needs in their communities.

AB 2244 clarifies that reduction of residential parking requirements for housing development on religious properties applies equally to existing and proposed projects. Effective January 1, 2023, any proposed affordable housing development located on a religious property is eligible for up to a 50 percent reduction in the number of required religious-use parking spaces. Moreover, a local agency cannot deny a development based on the proposed reduction in parking. This is an important step toward enabling religious institutions to provide low-income Californians with more stable housing opportunities on their properties.

Support for Preservation Tax Credits

CCH is dedicated to not only building and managing new affordable housing units but also to the preservation and renovation of existing properties. In alignment with our mission of providing quality, affordable homes, CCH supports AB 1911 designed to create an Affordable Housing Preservation Tax Credit (AHPTC) to incentivize the preservation of existing affordable apartment properties and mobile-home parks. If passed, AB1911 would provide for the preservation of tens of thousands of affordable housing units at risk of being converted to market rate and displacing low-income tenants.

According to Roadmap Home 2030, California needs to build 1.2 million additional affordable homes over the next ten years to meet the needs of low-income households. While increasing the supply of new and available affordable rental homes is critical, we also must preserve existing affordable housing so the need for more affordable housing doesn’t continue to grow.

Between 1997 and 2020, California lost 18,043 affordable rental homes as affordability restrictions expired. In the near future, another 30,102 affordable rental homes are at risk of being converted to market-rate rentals. Many neighborhoods currently have a stock of unrestricted housing, including mobile-home parks, that historically had been affordable. When considering affordability, protecting these homes from future market-rate pressures is equally important.

With a growing homeless population, California cannot afford to let tens of thousands of affordable housing units disappear. A targeted tax credit would encourage property owners to sell to affordable housing developers committed to long-term affordability. This would enable thousands of lower-income households to remain in their homes and avoid being displaced.

As drafted, the AHPTC would provide a 50 percent tax credit (up to $20,000 per unit and $1 million per transaction) against state and federal capital gains owed by the seller of an existing building or mobile park if they sell to a nonprofit entity that will commit to operating the property as low-income, affordable housing for 55 years.

The AHPTC would be used by experienced affordable housing organizations to keep at-risk and naturally-affordable units affordable. Over a five year period, a $500 million initial allocation of credits would lead to the preservation of roughly 25,000 affordable units, at a cost of $20,000 each.

Consider joining with CCH and lending your support to AB 1911. This bill will incentivize the preservation of existing affordable apartment properties and mobile-home parks, help keep vulnerable families housed, prevent homelessness, and maintain our valuable affordable housing stock.

Building on Our Diversity & Financial Strength

Dear Friends,

The past several months have challenged our soul as a nation. The rise of COVID-19 and the resulting economic downturn has led to record unemployment and placed businesses in jeopardy of closing. The social uprising for justice and reform following the deaths of George Floyd and countless other unarmed Black citizens at the hands the police has left many people unsure of what’s to come next. The emotional toll is almost overwhelming. Yet in times of turmoil and uncertainty, true heroes will rise. Like so many of our nation’s heroes, we are thankful for the dedication of our staff and the support of our partners who have kept CCH communities and its residents afloat through these trying times.

Health and safety remains our highest priority as we combat the ever persistent and dangerous COVID-19. We continue to abide by all health orders from public health officials to protect our communities. Additionally, we take pride in celebrating the diversity of our staff and residents. We stand in solidarity with those working against racism and for the enactment of social change and justice. As part of our commitment to an inclusive work place, we have implemented a mandatory diversity training program to raise awareness about the need to understand and value our differences and to address the impact of unconscious bias. I encourage you to read the article below to learn more about how this training will strengthen the core of our organization.

The financial health of our company also remains a top priority. As a result of years of careful fiscal management, CCH is on sound financial footing and able to withstand the temporary effects of this economic downturn. Earlier this year, Ann Rutigliano came on board as CCH’s Director of Finance. With her many years of financial experience, she is well poised to take CCH to the next level. Read more about her background and plans for CCH’s continued financial growth.

Corporate Office Relocation

Christian Church Homes’ (CCH) corporate office has relocated to 1855 Olympic Blvd, Suite 300, in Walnut Creek, CA. After 35 years of renting space for its administrative operations in Oakland, CA, CCH’s Affiliate Company purchased the Walnut Creek property with capacity to house the corporate staff and to provide room for future growth.

Please update your records with our new address. Our main telephone and facsimile numbers and email addresses remain unchanged. Contact us at (510) 632-6712 with any questions. We look forward to continuing to serve our valued residents and clients from our new location.

Impact of Housing Insufficiency  

Dear Friends:

Affordable Housing Month held annually in May provides an opportunity for allies, activists, supporters, neighbors and friends to join together in support of housing needs throughout the nation. COVID-19 exposed the foundational role of housing as a critical tool in protecting the health, safety and economic vitality of our communities. 

Research has shown communities are stronger and more vibrant when everyone has a safe, stable and affordable place to call home. More available housing means stronger communities, healthier families, a more vibrant economy and a better chance for each of us to succeed.  

The McKinsey Global Institute found a shortage of housing costs the economy between $143 billion and $233 billion annually. In many parts of the country, such as California, nearly one-third of renters were severely rent burdened prior to the pandemic, meaning they spent more than 30 percent of their income on rent, according to the Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies. The effect of the pandemic has been to broaden the income gap. As more income is dedicated to paying the rent, less money is available for non-essential items such as consumer goods, which has a negative impact on the economy. 

Quality housing should be a fundamental right for everyone and most especially our seniors who have earned the right to age in place with dignity and grace, During Affordable Housing Month, CCH joins with our residents, staff and other housing advocates to spotlight the need for more affordable housing resources. Using our collective voice, we can speak out for more and improved affordable housing options, enhanced policies and support for being a good neighbor to all. I encourage everyone to stay informed. Click here to read about Affordable Housing Month activities and how you can make a difference in your community.  

Annual Report Now Available

The most most recent edition of the CCH Annual Report is now available online. The theme for the 2021 report is “60 Years Serving the Community” and focuses on CCH’s rich history of social service, financial strength and the ability to grow our mission in building and managing quality, affordable housing in caring communities. Click here to view the flipbook version of the 2021 CCH Annual Report. Contact Marketing and Media Coordinator Valerie Roberts Gray at vgray@cchnc.org for a hard copy of the report.  

Quality Housing Connects to Wellness

Housing is more than a basic need – it is a key component to good health and wellness, according to a Fast Company Magazine article published in April 2020. The article shares that healthcare is intricately tied to the quality of housing and it’s impossible to separate the quality of one’s health from the quality of one’s housing condition.  

 Quality housing acts as a buffer against many types of illnesses resulting from poor living conditions, such as food instability, worsening asthma and allergies, lead dangers, poor insulation and faulty appliances. There are also psychological and behavioral issues caused by living in an inadequate environment.  

As an added challenge, more Americans will become low income as a result of the pandemic and financial hardships. Statistics from the National Low Income Housing Coalition show that for every 100 of the lowest income renters in the U.S.— many of whom are seniors and people with disabilities — there are fewer than 37 affordable and available homes. Currently, there are about 10 million very low-income renter households across the U.S. The coalition estimates another 1.5 million will become very or extremely low-income as a result of the pandemic. The financial fallout adds stress to an already stressed housing system. 

What can be done to protect vulnerable individuals hardest hit by the pandemic who may be on the verge of homelessness? The CARES Act may help in allocating $4 billion through the Emergency Solutions Grants program and another $5 billion for Community Development Block Grants to help preserve affordable housing and provide emergency rental assistance. An additional $3 billion is being directed to subsidized housing programs to make up for lost income. When renters’ incomes go down, so does their ability to pay the rent. 

At some point, Congress is expected to turn to a stimulus package to infuse the economy. Constructing affordable housing is one such way to do this. The National Association of Home Builders shares that building 100 affordable rental homes can generate $11.7 million in local income, $2.2 million in taxes and local government revenue and 161 local jobs in the first year. Consider how you can play a role in speaking out to make more affordable housing available.