Building a new home

Molly Heck

Photo By serena cervantes

Construction is afoot for the new Catalyst housing facility for victims of domestic violence. The new site is located in a residential area of Chico where Ivy and 13th Streets meet. Shelter Director Molly Heck said that the new location for the shelter won’t be under the confidentiality of the California Penal Code that has to do with domestic violence shelter programs. The facility will still be protected, though, by Catalyst policies and procedures concerning the confidentiality of their clients. Heck said the location will be considered a private residence. Construction, which started in April of this year, is estimated to be done around the spring of 2010. Heck estimated the total cost at about $3.2 million for the new development that will stand on about 1.4 acres. For more information or to make a donation to the new Catalyst housing facility, contact Heck at <script type="text/javascript" language="javascript">{ document.write(String.fromCharCode(60,97,32,104,114,101,102,61,34,109,97,105,108,116,111,58,109,111,108,108,121,64,99,97,116,97,108,121,115,116,100,118,115,101,114,118,105,99,101,115,46,111,114,103,34,62,109,111,108,108,121,64,99,97,116,97,108,121,115,116,100,118,115,101,114,118,105,99,101,115,46,111,114,103,60,47,97,62)) } </script>.

Where is the funding coming from?

The city of Chico is a partner, through the CDBG [community development block grant] funds, Redevelopment Agency, as well as the state of California EHAP [emergency housing assistance program]. What’s crazy is the funds were secured back in late 2006 for this capital-development project, and all of the moneys are designated for capital-development building. So we have this amazing project happening, and at the same time Catalyst, along with many nonprofit agencies, is really struggling with keeping our staffing levels consistent because the state of California’s budget is crap. Many domestic-violence agencies across the state get money from the Department of Public Health, and the governor is talking about doing some serious cutting to that program.

Why is the new facility in a residential area?

The current shelter’s in a residential setting as well and it is built to look like a home, a big home. That’s programmatic as well—that we want victims of domestic violence to feel like this is a home away from a violent home. It’s designed to look like one of the older Chico neighborhoods, kind of Craftsman-era with a little porch. It won’t look like what people envision as a homeless shelter; it’ll look like just a big house with nice landscaping. We want it to fit in with the neighborhood for sure.

What will change about the facility? Anything added, taken away?

The house that we’re currently in was also donated through the city of Chico, and this facility—Catalyst—will own the actual building. But the house that we’re in is a really old farmhouse, an old-school Chico house. It’s got a lot of structural challenges, with old electricity and old plumbing. The newness and modernization that’s happening with this facility is going to be a huge upgrade for Catalyst so that we won’t have to spend … money on maintenance and repair, and those dollars can go into actual programming and services for victims.