The village needs the town
Now is the time to give to the effort to build a local tiny house community
A lot of people work hard day in and day out to help others who live on the streets of Chico. Some are employed by government agencies and nonprofit organizations to carry out such efforts. Then there are the angels—the folks who take on the task without compensation or recognition.
Within that group of unsung heroes are the folks from the Chico Housing Action Team (CHAT). For years, that volunteer-led organization—even before it was an official nonprofit—flew under the radar to establish programs to get a roof over the heads of needy folks in our community.
Don’t forget that CHAT is the group that launched the Safe Space Winter Shelter back in 2013. That first year, it operated out of the Chico Peace and Justice Center. That program has grown substantially over the years—operating each subsequent winter in churches throughout town—and eventually became its own entity focused on offering low-barrier seasonal shelter.
Meanwhile, CHAT started delving deeper into housing first approaches, which prioritize moving those on the streets into stable homes. It has since placed more than 100 people into housing—dozens of homes the organization leases around town—and put them on the path to independence.
In spite of CHAT’s successes, one of the organization’s biggest challenges has been securing buy-in from the community on its most ambitious project, Simplicity Village, the concept that involves housing seniors in a tiny-home development. CHAT has been advocating for the project since at least 2014.
Over the past couple of years, the project has gained support from the private sector. That, coupled with the City Council’s vote to declare a shelter crisis, has made Simplicity Village a possibility. CHAT overcame one of its biggest hurdles at the policy level in December, when the new incarnation of the council voted to approve its location on Notre Dame Boulevard, near Morrow Lane.
Now, the organization is in a new phase of development. It has launched a fundraising campaign with a target of $100,000 to pay for infrastructure improvements at the site, which is currently raw land (gofundme.com/chat-simplicity-village). As of this newspaper’s press time, it had raised about $43,000.
Over the next couple of months, Chicoans are going to hear from many individuals and organizations that are competing for funds for projects they believe will better Chico. From our perspective, Simplicity Village is a worthy cause, and we encourage the community to support it.