For Immediate Release

CONTACT:

  • John Sonnenday
  • Executive Director, Coordinating Council on Homelessness
  • 412-419-6116
  • ccohwv@gmail.com

COORDINATING COUNCIL ON HOMELESSNESS MERGING INTO COMMUNITY HOUSING ACTION PARTNERSHIP

On August 31, 2017, the Coordinating Council on Homelessness (CCOH) will cease independent operations and merge its assets into the Community Housing Action Partnership (CHAP), a non-profit devoted to the development of affordable housing.

The Coordinating Council on Homelessness came into being as an outgrowth of the Task Force on Homelessness, created by the City Council of Morgantown and the Monongalia County Commission in 2010. The Task Force produced a Community-Wide Plan to Reduce Homelessness, with 10 Action Steps, the first of which was the creation of a permanent organization to implement the Plan and support collaboration among service providers.

With the encouragement of the Task Force, area agencies providing homeless services began meeting regularly to pursue greater collaboration aimed at reducing homelessness. Since the beginning of collaboration, the number of persons experiencing homelessness has been significantly reduced, and the agencies now have an effective system for housing people. The work is not over, but the trend is clear. Therefore, the CCOH Board did not believe it was good stewardship of resources to continue to devote money to a coordinating agency since the service providers are now working more effectively together.

However, the primary cause of homelessness, the lack of affordable housing, still needs serious attention. There is a critical housing shortage for low income people. And work force housing is in very short supply. There is a desperate need for an organization to rally community-wide support for building/renovating additional affordable housing. The creation of an Affordable Housing Task Force was one of the Action Plans of the Community-Wide Plan to Reduce Homelessness and an original goal of CCOH; therefore, it is most appropriate for CCOH to merge its assets into the Community Housing Action Partnership to promote the development of affordable housing.

The Community Housing Action Partnership, Inc., (CHAP) was created in 2014 by community stakeholders to serve as a catalyst for developing affordable, quality, housing in Monongalia County by:

  • Acting as a consortium of developers, funders, lenders, nonprofits, and community members
  • Collaborating and leveraging partnerships among community housing organizations
  • Serving as a clearinghouse for housing resources
  • Advocating for housing that is attainable and available to all members of our community.
  • One of the most important learnings of CCOH is that complex social problems – such as homelessness – cannot be solved by individual institutions functioning independently. In order to create lasting solutions to complex social problems, all organizations -- government, business, education, non-profits - need to coordinate their efforts and work together around clearly defined goals. Devoting a few resources to this effort of coordination actually improves the effectiveness of the many different entities and agencies that need to be involved and saves money in the long run.

    This learning clearly applies to the development of affordable housing. Numerous studies have documented what many in the community have experienced, that there is a serious shortage of affordable housing at many economic levels. Random efforts have had little if any impact. The only viable approach is a coordinated, community-wide effort involving entities from across the area. With members representing housing development, finance, business, education, government, and other community leaders, CHAP is the ideal unit to begin making a serious effort to address this critical need. Chair of the CHAP Board of Directors is David Bott. For further information on CHAP, visit chapwv.org.

    CCOH will cease operations at the end of August and merge its assets with CHAP. To facilitate the transition, three members of the CCOH Board of Directors will join the CHAP Board. The Executive Director pf CCOH, John Sonnenday, is retiring, and CHAP will be hiring an Executive Director to lead its mission of creating affordable housing.

    The CCOH Board is extremely grateful for the community’s support in our efforts to end homelessness. We hope you share our satisfaction that the level of progress our community has made toward that goal makes our existence no longer necessary. Since the long-term solution to homelessness is the creation of more affordable housing, it is the hope of the CCOH Board that those who have supported its work over the last several years will lend their support to the work of CHAP as it seeks to expand the supply of housing for our more financially vulnerable neighbors.

    CHAP BACKGROUND

    The Community Housing Action Partnership, Inc., (CHAP) was created in 2014 by community stakeholders to serve as a catalyst for developing affordable, quality, housing in Monongalia County by:

    • Acting as a consortium of developers, funders, lenders, nonprofits, and community members
    • Collaborating and leveraging partnerships among community housing organizations
    • Serving as a clearinghouse for housing resources
    • Advocating for housing that is attainable and available to all members of our community

    In the past two years, CHAP has hosted a workshop for housing stakeholders to identify and act on issues related to financing, available property and applicable codes. In addition, the organization sponsored the community’s first housing fair as a vehicle to link individuals and families, specifically low-moderate income, with housing resources available in this community to help them achieve their housing goals.

    The information from these activities has been captured and is available to residents, agencies, and housing stakeholders at

    http://www.chapwv.org

    FINANCIAL

    Upon the closure of business of CCOH:

    • Payment of all encumbered CCOH expenses will be made from available resources
    • A small financial reserve will be maintained in the CCOH bank account until such time as it is clear that all expenses have been paid.
    • With the exception of the financial reserve, all monetary assets of CCOH will be transferred to CHAP on or about August 31, 2017.
    • Currently, the Community Living Initiatives Corporation (CLIC) serves as the funder and fiscal agent for CHAP for most day-to-day and administrative activities. Simultaneous with the merger of the two organizations, CHAP will establish an independent bank account under accepted protocols for non-profits, i.e. two signators to facilitate the the transfer of monetary assets.
    • Members of CCOH Board of Directors will work with CHAP Board to approach CCOH current funders regarding continuation of their support. This will include the Monongalia County Commission, Morgantown City Council, and United Way, as necessary.

    OTHER ASSETS

    • CCOH computer from the State Coalition will be returned to the State Coalition.
    • CHAP will use one CCOH filing cabinet to maintain organization records. This cabinet will be located in the offices of the Northern WV Center for Independent Living (NWVCIL) at 601-3 East Brockway, Suites A&B, Morgantown until decisions are made regarding a physical office location for the merged entity.
    • All other office furniture will be offered to local non-profits or storage space secured.

    ORGANIZATION

    • CHAP will maintain the electronic files of CCOH minutes, financial reports, and other items of continuing interest.
    • A minimum of three (3) members of the current CCOH Board of Directors will be given the opportunity to become members of the CHAP Board of Directors, following the guidelines outlined in the CHAP by-laws as described in the following bullet.
    • CCOH will submit names of interested candidates to CHAP by August 20. Candidates should provide a statement of interest and a brief bio to be reviewed by CHAP Board at its August 23 meeting. New members will be elected to the Board at the CHAP Annual Meeting in September for a 3-year term, beginning October 1, 2017.
    • Each of the two organizations will develop motions appropriate to their organization to approve and implement the transition and act on it before August 31, 2017.