The Coalition for Compassion and Justice operates an emergency shelter and offers many other services to local people experiencing homelessness, like meals, job-search assistance, interview training, medical and counseling referrals, and mailing addresses. CCJ’s mission is to advocate for those who find themselves without permanent homes, helping its clients both survive and move forward toward living their best possible lives, with permanent housing and healthier lifestyles. The goal is to get individuals off the streets and into homes.
Many people experience the housing gap, where the income they bring in cannot cover all their living expenses because rent takes such a large percentage of their income. Many can afford $200-$300 a month, but there is no available housing for that amount. CCJ knows that if someone can find affordable housing, it will allow their income to stretch further and they can do more. “Once you have a secure, safe home and the ability to wake up in the same place every day, to take a shower and have food, then your $300 per month income becomes$500,” says CCJ Director Jessi Hans.
The Second Chance Housing initiative started in 2015, when the organization purchased eleven units in a mobile-home park. In 2018 it built The Cottages, small individual units behind a main house with shared spaces and amenities. Then The Lodge was built, two buildings each with room for up to six individuals transitioning out of homelessness. Each individual room, including its own porch and sharing a common central space with the other rooms, costs $350 per month. CCJ was able to house 45 clients in 2019. Second Chance Housing offers a stairstep array of housing according to cost, allowing for incremental growth toward open-market housing. It provides a dignified means of helping clients transition from homelessness through poverty and into their highest potential.
The newest CCJ project, Paloma Village, consists of 25 modular homes on four acres in Chino Valley. These one-to three-bedroom units will cost $500-$700 per month and accommodate singles and roommates and families. A CCJ staffer will live on site, and case management, property management and maintenance will be available to all tenants. There will be a communal park area and the site will have its own water and septic systems. On completion Paloma Village will be self-sustaining and may even contribute to building funds for future affordable housing projects.
Some housing-assistance programs cannot accommodate everyone because a client may not fit all the criteria to qualify. CCJ assesses each client’s needs and what they have to work with, taking that as the starting point from which to move forward. Clients get a “forever commitment” from CCJ. If someone gets into open-market housing, then loses a job and consequently their housing, CCJ is always available to help, even if the client has previously transitioned out of the Second Chance Housing program.
To support the CCJ’s work you can shop at the Second Chance thrift store, on Miller Valley Road at Madison Avenue across from Prescott College, or visit YavapaiCCJ.org. It also runs the Prescott Workers Progress Agency, which does landscaping and home repair. To learn more about PWPA, contact Allison Lenocker at PWPA@yavapaiccj.org.