Christian Church Homes

Corporate Office Relocation

Effective June 27, 2022, 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 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.  

Stay safe,

Syd

Syd Najeeb, MBA, FCMA

CCH President and CEO

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.  

Letter Writing for Effective Advocacy

As a leader in the affordable housing arena, CCH joins with other organizations in advocating for legislation and programs to address the nation’s housing needs. Advocacy can take many forms and each of us can make a difference by pushing for necessary reforms.  

A first step is to be aware of housing issues and to share your opinion. As discussed in a previous issue, giving public comment is one such avenue. Another highly-effective means is to send informed letters to your elected officials advocating for change.    

When taking part in a letter writing campaign, there are some key pointers to keep in mind:  

Timing is everything. Campaigns are most successful when there is a solid window of opportunity within the legislative process to consider and apply written suggestions. Letter writing is most impactful when it comes around a crucial vote or decision.  

Keep to a specific topic. It is best to address an issue when it’s alive and relevant. The impact of correspondence can be lost if the subject matter is more topical or general in nature without advocating for a specific policy or piece of legislation. Be as specific as possible for the greatest impact.   

Collective participation heightens awareness. Letters are most effective when written together. This can be done, for example, by using a template from an advocacy group in support of a cause. You can personalize the template by adding your own personal touch and telling your story which adds meaning and personal flavor.  

Less is more and specifics are best. A one-page limit to an elected official is best. This may seem short, especially for crucial issues, however legislators with hundreds of letters to sift through are looking for impactful statements that make a case for a specific vote, regulation, or action. Referencing specific legislation, in as much detail as possible, offers the legislator a reliable, quick reference point. 

Respect your legislator, but remain firm. Letter writing often occurs when constituents are passionate about a particular policy, practice, or regulation. Passion can lead to powerful letters, however be careful to avoid an accusatory tone. Making accusations is not an effective way to address elected officials. You should always maintain a respectful demeanor.  

Always include your personal address. Elected officials represent constituents in a particular geographic area. Using your address allows for quick and easy identification of yourself as a constituent and provides a way for representatives to send a reply back to your letter.     

Ask for a response. An important part of letter writing is to invoke an individual response, rather than an automated one. Ask directly how the elected official intends to vote or for information about the actions they plan to take regarding a particular issue. 

Remember, your voice carries weight! Collective participation raises awareness and makes an impact in helping pass crucial legislation and programs.  

Founder of Sojourner Truth Eulogized  

Daisy Emma Jean White Murray, age 104, amazed not only her family and friends with her tenacity, longevity and love of life but inspired others by her dedication to community service and leadership. Born April 11, 1918, her family was only a few generations removed from slavery as her grandmother was the daughter of an enslaved person. Despite facing ingrained racism, Daisy lived life to its fullest, transitioning from this earth on April 20, 2022 and leaving behind a rich legacy of good works, including helping establish California’s first affordable housing community to be owned and built by minority women. She was eulogized May 5 with a celebration of life service at her beloved Bethel Missionary Baptist Church in Oakland, CA.   

Daisy grew up in Ohio where her family relocated to escape the racism and violence of the south. During high school, she and her sisters sang as members of The White Sisters Quartet at local churches where their father preached. They often practiced with The Mills Brothers. When a radio manager suggested shifting their music from gospel to jazz, their father ended the sisters’ radio career but they continued to sing in local churches. 

Shortly after graduating from high school, Daisy married her husband and in 1944 they moved with their children to California, settling in the East Bay. She attended Contra Costa Junior College and Chabot College where she graduated as a Licensed Vocational Nurse. Daisy worked a number of volunteer and paid positions, including the U.S. Post Office, the American Red Cross, the Del Monte Cannery, the old Richmond Hospital, and the Veteran’s Hospital in Oakland where she became a nurse.  

Daisy devoted much of her time to civic organizations including the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), National Council of Negro Women, Business and Professional Women’s Association, and as a literacy teacher for the San Leandro public library.   

As a founding member of the Negro Business and Professional Women – East Bay Area Chapter, Daisy and other affordable housing visionaries acquired a HUD grant to establish California’s first affordable residency for seniors owned and built by minority women. Completed in 1974, Sojourner Truth Manor is still managed today by CCH and has housed generations of seniors. An early member of its board, Daisy stepped away for a time but returned in 2007 to oversee renovations to the property well into her nineties. 

CCH President and CEO Syd Najeeb commended Daisy’s dedication. “She lived an amazing life of service and enriched the lives of hundreds of seniors through the operations of Sojourner Truth Manor,” he said. “We are grateful for her many contributions.”  

On the occasion of her 104th birthday, U.S. Rep. Barbara Lee of the 13th Congressional District of California spoke of Daisy’s many accomplishments and wished her the happiest of birthdays. “Thank you, Mrs. Murray, for your many good works and everything you have done to enrich San Leandro and our entire East Bay community,” she said.  

People often marveled at Daisy’s long functionality, even as a centenarian. She passed her driver’s test and drove herself around town well into her nineties and could read emails without eyeglasses. She encouraged others to embrace new technologies and video conferencing. Asked her secret to living a long life so well, Daisy answered it was all by the grace of God. She was a woman of faith and prayer who loved the Lord and did her best to live for Him. 

A Roadmap to a Better California 

CCH was among the benefactors contributing to Housing California’s 2022 Conference, “A Roadmap to a Better California,” which explored strategies for how to create more affordable housing and ways to end homelessness. The hybrid event, held April 4-6 in Sacramento, CA, included about 500 in-person attendees, along with virtual participation. CCH sponsored a virtual exhibit and the Development team was among those in attendance.  

CCH Director of Real Estate Development Sidney Stone said it was great to see everyone in person again after two years of the pandemic. “We received pertinent information and made valuable connections to help us in structuring our funding applications going forward,” he said. 

Oakland City Councilmember Carol Fife, a recent speaker at the grand reopening ceremonies for CCH’s Westlake Christian Towers – West, addressed conference attendees about the urgent need for more low-income housing and finding permanent solutions to housing shortages. Sacramento City Councilwoman Katie Valenzuela noted that her city is the first in California to earn the state’s Pro-housing Designation, underscoring the city’s readiness to work with developers on creative housing solutions, such as waiving fees for affordable housing construction; allowing housing by right in commercial corridors; speeding approval for accessory dwelling units; and reducing or eliminating parking requirements for new housing.  

“The councilwomen brought fresh ideas to the table,” says CCH Assistant Project Manager Chris Batson. “Their passion for affordable housing was very evident,” he shares. “They had very concrete examples and creative solutions for how to address housing needs in their cities.”  

Former CCH Marketing Director and Housing California Communications Manager Iris Murillo spoke about the need for unifying messages in developing more actionable and sustainable solutions to housing affordability issues.  

“Utilizing marketing techniques, such as TikTok and other emerging social media platforms, were identified as creative means to help educate and inform divergent groups about affordable housing options,” notes CCH Project Manager Jevon Allen.   

Chris and Jevon both said the most valuable aspect of the conference was the chance to interact and build relationships with other developers, investors and grass root organizers in creating a shared vision for building a better California housing market. Organizers added that everyone has an essential role to play in addressing the nation’s housing crisis. 

Pushing Ahead for Housing Solutions

Dear Friends,

As a leader in providing quality, affordable housing for low-income seniors, CCH continues to examine and closely monitor the housing crisis across the nation. In California where CCH owns and/or manages 37 senior properties, the Bay Area, Los Angeles and San Diego top the list for the toughest rental markets in the country. Other cities including Sacramento, Fresno and the Central Valley similarly are experiencing their share of difficulties.

According to the Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies, nearly one-third of Californians were severely rent burdened prior to the pandemic, meaning they spent more than 30 percent of their income on rent. The effect of the pandemic has been to further broaden the income gap. This has had a direct impact on the economy. As more money is dedicated to paying the rent, a smaller percentage of income is available for non-essentials such as consumer goods. The McKinsey Global Institute found that housing shortages cost the economy between $143 billion and $233 billion annually. This does not take into account secondary costs associated with health, education and the environment.

Articles on this site examine the economic fallout from the pandemic on housing and health care, obstacles which stand in the way of building more affordable housing and programs designed to assist renters. The time is critical to address the nation’s housing needs and to consider possible legislative solutions to overcome obstacles plaguing the market today. Everyone has a right to dignity and a safe, quality place to call home. Join with CCH in crusading for change.

Stay safe, 

Syd

 

Syd Najeeb

CCH President & CEO 

 

 

COVID Exposes Importance of Housing

Housing is more than a basic need – it’s a key component to good health and wellness, according to a recent article published in Fast Company. Amid the economic fallout from the pandemic, the article shares that healthcare is more needed and more precarious than ever and is intricately linked to the quality of housing. It is impossible to separate the quality of one’s health from the quality of one’s housing conditions.

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 a result of the pandemic and financial hardships, many more Americans will become low income. Statistics from the National Low Income Housing Coalition show that for every 100 of the lowest income renters in the U.S.—who are often seniors and people with disabilities — there are fewer than 37 homes which are affordable and available to them. There are currently about 10 million very low-income renter households across the U.S. and the coalition estimates another 1.5 million will become very or extremely low-income as a result of the Coronavirus crisis and the subsequent financial fallout. This will add stress to an already stressed housing system.

What can be done to protect those hardest hit individuals who may be on the verge of homelessness? The CARES Act may help in allocating $4 billion to homeless assistance through the Emergency Solutions Grants program and $5 billion for Community Development Block Grants, to help preserve affordable housing which also can be used for emergency rental assistance. An additional $3 billion is directed to subsidized housing programs to make up for lost incomes. Keep in mind that when renters’ incomes go down, so does their ability to pay rent.

Property owners can play a part by reaching out to their residents, assessing needs and determining means of assistance. There is also an opportunity to invest in affordable housing stock. At some point, Congress is expected to turn to a stimulus package to infuse the economy. Constructing affordable housing is one 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 create 161 local jobs in the first year. Consider how you can play a role in helping turn the tide in making more affordable housing available. 

Obstacles to New Housing Development

For many proposed new housing projects, a litany of circumstances and “obstructionism” can hamper potential projects from ever coming to fruition. Given the nation’s housing crisis and growing numbers of homeless persons, most individuals on some level will acknowledge the need for expanded housing yet a litany of factors can stand in the way of the timely development of new homes.

Among the first questions that often comes to mind is: who actually benefits from new housing developments? On the surface, the answer may appear easily transparent – new homebuyers, local businesses, new arrivals to the area, schools, labor, and, of course, developers. A closer examination reveals there are several interest groups, intentionally or not, which may stand in the way of progress. Consider the following:

Community neighbors

Those living in close proximity to new developments are oftentimes weary of changing the complexity of the neighborhood. They worry about depressed property values, increases in their own rent or mortgages, being overshadowed by high-rise complexes, increases in traffic and congestion, higher crime rates and even the desire to retain the inherent “character” of the neighborhood.

Obstructionism

For those bent on slowing down progress, there are many available tools in the arsenal to delay progress: land use laws, labor codes, union issues, zoning restrictions, environmental concerns, lengthy design reviews, parking constraints, and multi-layered city approval processes which can all stall, stymie or scale back new housing developments. As a result, the addition of many proposed new housing developments are not keeping pace with population growth and the subsequent need for housing. Cost factors come into play with many lower and even middle income wage earners and seniors on limited incomes being priced out of the market. Whether rallying together or separately, these obstructionist groups have a powerful influence on effectively slowing down affordable housing projects.

Possible solutions

There is no clear-cut resolution, but vigilance is required to continually gage and push through legislation that will address obstructions to new housing development. This includes proposed legislation at the state and federal level to ease zoning and environmental restrictions; funnel more money into affordable housing production and encourage local governments to comply with broader state and federal goals for timely development of new affordable housing projects. While this may sounds like a lot to tackle, by chipping away at various obstacles, progress indeed can be made.