30 Years of Our Esplanade House, Let the Celebration Begin!

Friday, Oct 08, 2021

EHouse 30th Logo SnippetWe are celebrating the 30 Year anniversary of our Esplanade House! Since 1991 this program has been helping break the cycle of homelessness and addiction in our community. We’ve seen growth in people and in the program over the last three decades and we look forward to sharing the notable occurrences along the way with you.

A Dream Come to Fruition

Room at the Inn SnippetWe started with humble beginnings in 1991 in a renovated motel at 2505 Esplanade. At that time, the Community Action Agency of Oroville was looking to expand to a shelter in Chico. Once the funding was secured, the motel was remodeled and able to fit 14 families – it opened just before the holiday’s that year to provide a warm home and fresh start at the most magical time of the year. 

Our Esplanade House was smoothly opened and met with public support at a time where Chico’s frustration with homelessness sometimes overshadowed the publics’ sympathy. There were other programs and shelters working to alleviate the problem as well, but our program’s design of specifically supporting families to move out of homelessness was new at the time and hard to argue against.

Since day one, Community Action Agency of Butte County has been dedicated to serving the community through our Esplanade House by creating a bridge for families to move from homelessness to permanent housing. We’d accept families who were committed to solving their problems and enforced a zero-tolerance drug and alcohol policy. But we also are committed to supporting the recovery from trauma and addiction as well.

The Work

Our Esplanade House was created to get families out of the cycle of homelessness. Not surprisingly, the pursuit of that goal includes positive changes in other areas of our residents’ lives. We’ve seen hundreds of families regain custody of their children, find employment, complete schooling and graduate to stable housing of their own through this model.

This program is designed for more than just parents, it also serves their children. Homelessness and exposure to drug use can be traumatic for children and our Esplanade House offers a place where they can develop and grow in a stable environment.

We do this with the help of on-site licensed drug and alcohol counseling, case management of families, and group classes. We also provide support for off-site events like behavioral health counseling, drug court or anything else a person may need to achieve self-sufficiency.

Current Day

In 2020 the NorCal Continuum of Care conducted it’s Point-in-Time (PIT) survey and found that there were more than a thousand unhoused residents on the streets and 500 more in shelters.  In 2017, the PIT survey revealed that 24% of the chronically homeless population were families.

Our current facility, which we opened in 2003, houses up to 58 families and a state-licensed child development center. The apartments are a combination of program-entry and program-graduate housing units that provide subsidized rent for families transitioning through the program.

The support services that we offer are geared towards helping families to find stability, independence, and healing.

  • Substance abuse groups and education
  • Group and individual counseling for adults
  • Parent education and life skills classes
  • Comprehensive case management
  • Employment search and computer skills training
  • GED assessment, tutoring, and classes for completion of a GED
  • Budgeting and financial literacy
  • Health, fitness and nutritional education
  • Completion of court-required activities
  • Landlord/tenant issues, utility assistance
  • Linkage to community services
  • Comprehensive children’s services including an onsite early child development program and tutoring/recreation for school-age youth.

The program has two phases, each involving a 12-18 month period of targeted development:

Phase I consists of transitional housing and support services for homeless families in crisis. Comprehensive case management helps adults address the barriers to self-sufficiency. Families can participate in Phase I of the program for up to eighteen months. Upon completion of Phase I, participants are encouraged to enter Phase II.

Phase II includes supportive housing that offers participants the opportunity to continue to reinforce the education and work skills necessary to reach self-sufficiency. Phase II clients can then secure and maintain permanent housing in the community.

Partners

CAVE photo

Over the years we’ve built relationships with the community that have enriched the program and lives of our residents. Chico State has been a community partner since we started 30 years ago. It began with their Human Resources Development Department taking on the shelter as their project. Interior-design majors helped decorate the room and nutrition and child development majors worked with the families.

ow we partner with the university’s Community Action Volunteers in Education or CAVE to provide after school tutoring and recreational activities for our children. The nursing program also helps and was especially critical during Chico’s COVID-19 quarantine period.

We offer internships for various areas of social work, childcare, and counseling as well as volunteer opportunities. Volunteering at our Esplanade House can look like serving in the office, on the grounds orworking with children. There have also been generous donors, like our Easter Bunny who gifts the children Easter baskets filled with goodies every year.

We’d Like to Invite You

Over the next few months, we are going to be sharing stories from our Esplanade House and we hope you’ll come along and enjoy the history of one of Chico’s oldest catalysts to fighting homelessness and poverty.

You’ll see and hear inspirational stories from those who have worked in our program and those who have benefitted from it. There will be historical highlights of programs and what the Butte Community Action Agency’s Esplanade House means for Chico.  In recognition of the continued impacts of COVID we won’t have an “event” like other birthday celebrations.  But you will be presented with opportunities to be a part of all of the good that we do and to support it in various ways. So stay tuned.

Be sure to follow along on our Facebook and Instagram channels and sign up for our email alerts so you don’t miss a thing.  Come join the Party!

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