History

A Commitment to Help, Housing, and Hope

 

For more than 50 years, CCA has been a force for community building and social change.

 

CCA got its start as part of a series of suburban "living room" dialogues held in 1966 that involved Catholics and Protestants focused on how best to put their Christian faith into action. These dialogues led to direct assistance to victims of a fire on Congress Avenue in 1967.

 

It was on Congress Avenue that CCA had its first office, under the direction of the Rev. David Nehring. This office became the focus of urban encounter programs, crisis intervention, emergency housing, and outreach between the inner city and the suburbs.

 

CCA moved to its current facility at 168 Davenport Avenue in 1971. There, CCA expanded its emergency housing, crisis intervention, coalition building, welfare reform, and educational efforts. In 1978, CCA acquired the adjacent property at 166 Davenport Avenue, adding three more emergency housing units.

 

In December 1984, the city-owned New Haven Family Shelter at 124 Sylvan Avenue was partially opened under CCA operation. The entire building was opened in 1986. The facility provided an additional 10 apartments for emergency housing.

 

In 1998, after years of planning, the Stepping Stone Transitional Housing Program was opened at 660 Winchester Avenue. This facility houses 18 apartments, an after school program, and an activity room for resident families and their children.

 

Other programs offered by CCA include after-school programs and a children’s summer program, fuel assistance, Diaper Bank, and food basket distribution at Thanksgiving that serves more than 2,000 families, seniors, and persons with disabilities. Our ARISE Center helps families in need to prevent a first experience with or a return to homelessness, using an approach that incorporates both adults and children, providing multiple resources, including employment assistance, educational resources, family health and mental health referrals, child development screenings, and advocacy. 

 

Through the years, our vision has been not only to meet short term needs, but to provide people with the skills and opportunities necessary to become more self-sufficient.

 

1967

CCA is founded, with the Rev. David Nehring as director, and opens its first office on Congress Avenue.

 

1971

CCA moves its main office to its current location at 168 Davenport Avenue, where it expands its emergency housing by adding three units.

 

1976

The Rev. Philip Grigsby becomes director.

 

1978

CCA acquires new property at 166 Davenport Avenue, adding three more emergency housing units.

 

1980

CCA begins its annual Thanksgiving food basket distribution.

 

1981

The Rev. Karl Hilgert becomes director.

 

1986

CCA expands its capacity to help families in crisis when the city-owned New Haven Family Shelter opens at 124 Sylvan Avenue under CCA operation. This shelter provides an additional 10 units of emergency housing.

 

1987

CCA increases social service and case management programs for emergency housing residents.

 

1988

The Rev. Bonita Grubbs becomes director.

 

1993

"Mothers for Justice" is established.

 

1994

CCA begins its first summer program for children who live in CCA housing.

 

1998

After years of planning, the Stepping Stone Transitional Housing Program opens at 660 Winchester Avenue.

 

1999

A catastrophic fire breaks out at the CCA main office, devastating the administrative space and five emergency housing units.

 

2000

The 166-168 Davenport and Sylvan Avenue shelter sites are collectively renamed the Hillside Family Shelter.

 

2001

"Client Choice Program" starts as part of CCA’s Food Pantry in the spring. CCA partners with Life Haven Family Shelter to start "The Woman’s Wellness Project"

 

2003

Citizens Bank and News Channel 8 name CCA a "Community Champion."

 

2004

CCA holds its first Forum program, “Laughing at Ourselves,” featuring the comedian Sinbad and TV personality Joy Behar.

 

2005

The 25th annual Thanksgiving Food Basket distribution reaches 1,200 families. This effort is made possible thanks to the help of hundreds of volunteers from area schools, churches, businesses, and civic groups. The second CCA Forum, “Freedom! Not Just Another Word,” features writer Molly Ivins, attorney Anita Hill, and public television’s Ray Suarez.

 

2007

CCA celebrates its 40th Anniversary at the Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History.

 

2007-2010

CCA's annual fundraising event features "The Capitol Steps."

 

2009

CCA begins its first People Empowering People "PEP" Training and receives funding for its first Parent Leadership Training Institute.

 

2010 

F.A.I.T.H. Partnerships program is formed. The Mothers for Justice video, "Living In a Broken System," is completed.

 

2011 

CCA's annual fundraising event features "An Evening with Garrison Keillor."

 

2012

CCA receives the Bill Liddell Award from the Connecticut Food Bank in recognition of exemplary service, ongoing dedication, and significant support. CCA's annual fundraising event features a performance from The Second City.

 

2013

CCA's annual fundraising event features Wynton Marsalis.

 

2014

CCA's annual fundraising event features the group Three Mo' Tenors.

 

2015

CCA opens the ARISE Center at 370 Davenport Avenue, a homelessness prevention center designed for families at risk of homelessness. ARISE stands for Accessing Resources for Independence Skill-building and Employment. CCA's annual fundraising event features Al Jarreau.

 

2016

Award-winning singer Dionne Warwick performs at CCA's annual fundraiser. ARISE Center relocates to space at 158 Davenport Avenue. New Haven Register publishes front-page feature story about agency's on-going contributions to the community: http://bit.ly/2i7Vn7W

 

2017

CCA commemorates 50 years of help, housing, and hope in New Haven. Key anniversary-related activities include a worship and praise service, an educational forum, a festival of food, family and fun to celebrate the Hill community, and a fund-raiser with actor/activist Harry Belafonte as guest.