How a nonprofit is helping the homeless become homeowners in San Diego

Aug 23, 2012

In San Diego County the homeless population is approaching 10,000. Living on the streets, in cars, shelters or other temporary housing, this population includes families, young children and individuals working to overcome a difficult period in their lives.

“Community HousingWorks (CHW) was formed 30 years ago in a garage and two church meeting rooms by different community leaders who wanted to improve their communities,” said Sue Reynolds, President and CEO of Community HousingWorks. “They realized that housing was a key solution to improving the community and began working to provide people with stable housing.”

Since those early meetings, CHW has provided the people and communities of San Diego County with opportunities to live a better life. These opportunities include helping participants purchase their first home or rent an apartment, schoolwork assistance for young people, housing and support services that help participants build their financial resources, educational skills and leadership abilities.

Bank of America has supported the mission of CHW since the early 1990s, providing lending and investment resources to achieve its goals. In addition, the bank’s philanthropic support has included a $200,000 grant, leadership training, and hundreds of Bank of America volunteers.

“Bank of America believed in what we were doing from the beginning,” said Reynolds. “While other banks were weary of our plans to provide affordable housing, Bank of America stepped up and took a chance on us and our vision for the community.”

Today, CHW is the developer and owner of affordable rental apartments in communities across the county. It has completed over 1,500 rental and cooperative apartments in 29 rental communities and its program resources help approximately 100 participants become new homeowners each year.

“The success stories of CHW are truly inspiring,” said Bank of America Senior Vice President Charmaine Atherton. “Individuals who were homeless have purchased their first homes and children who were failing school are succeeding and thriving because they have stable housing. CHW has truly helped these people turn their lives around, and Bank of America is proud to be a partner of this vital organization.”

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