CCA began as a series of dialogues in 1966, where Catholics and Protestants came together to find ways to put their shared Christian faith into action. The first opportunity came in 1967, when a fire destroyed the home of a family on Congress Ave in New Haven.
Led by Executive Directors Rev. David Nehring (1967-1975), Rev. Philip Grigsby (1976-1980), and Rev. Karl Hilgert (1981-1987) CCA opened on Congress Ave, and became a focal point for crisis intervention, emergency housing, and outreach between the inner city and the suburbs. Highlights include:
- Moved to its current location at 168 Davenport Ave
- Acquired 166 Davenport Ave, and began managing the City’s shelter on Sylvan Ave, for a total of 17 emergency housing units
- Launched Thanksgiving basket distribution to neighborhood families, seniors, and people with disabilities
- Expanded social service and case management programs for its emergency housing residents
Rev. Bonita Grubbs became Executive Director in 1988. CCA’s focus began to evolve to a holistic approach, continuing to meet transactional needs (shelter, food and diapers) while developing transitional services (longer-term housing, skill-building, child care), which lead to transformational change and self-sufficiency. Service expansions include:
- Preventing Homelessness – the ARISE Center (Accessing Resources for Independence Skill-building and Employment) helps families prevent a first experience with, or a return to, homelessness. ARISE offers employment assistance, educational resources, medical and mental health referrals, child development screenings, and advocacy.
- Transitional Housing – Stepping Stone Transitional Housing Program at 660 Winchester Ave, with 18 housing units, space for the afterschool program and an activity room
- Advocacy – Mothers (and Others) for Justice and the Advocacy and Education Project offer workshops and action-oriented events to drive changes to public policy for the benefit the poor
- Empowerment – the “Client Choice Program,” Food Pantry. Clients set appointments and select items they prefer. Child Care – a Summer program for children living in CCA housing, and an afterschool program for children living in transitional housing
- Community Engagement – FAITH Partners seeks to engage congregations in the Greater New Haven area to join CCA’s mission of “Help, Housing, and Hope.”
Through the years, our vision has been to meet short-term needs, while providing people with the skills and opportunities they need to become more self-sufficient.