Pancakes for CHAT


Courtesy of CHAT.

Homelessness has been sweeping the nation, and the goal of the Chico Housing Action Team is to help those in the community. CHAT is hosting a silent auction on Easter Sunday, April 9.

CHAT has been collaborating with Chico State since 2016 to help house homeless students. The event is called “Pancakes for CHAT,” and will serve breakfast from 8 a.m. – noon. There will also be an Easter egg hunt at 10:30 a.m. You can join CHAT for pancakes at the CARD Center, located at 545 Vallombrosa Ave. Tickets are available for purchase online or at the door for $20. All proceeds will be going to the nonprofit organization.

According to the 2017 Butte Countywide Homeless Continuum of Care, Chico ranked number one in the county for the most homelessness. This count sums up  to 1,096 individuals experiencing homelessness. CHAT is working directly with Basic Needs in order to help students suffering from homelessness. 

In recent years, Chico City Council has gotten some backlash from wanting to remove homeless individuals out of Bidwell Park, and relocate them near the Municipal airport. This relocation was found to have little to no access to resources and high heat from the pavement in the summer. 

President of nonprofit CHAT, Leslie Johnson replied during this controversial arrangement to Chico Enterprise-Record.

“I was surprised they decided to make provision for such a large number of people,” Johnson said “I would rather see a smaller site that meets more of the needs of the people that are there.”

The City Council ruled against the idea and brought up Martin V. Boise. This case concluded that you can not remove homeless individuals from one location to another without adequate housing, as that would be cruel and unusual punishment.

Current student resident, Kourtne Garrison, expressed her own struggles with housing.

“Not having stable housing made my anxiety a lot worse,” Garrison said. “It’s scary always being unsure of the unknown, unsure of where I’d be sleeping or what I would eat.” 

With welcoming hands, CHAT created a safe space for Garrison to join. This was not only through housing, but through the support of case workers offering around-the-clock advice and resources.

CHAT advocates for small and attainable communities of shelters to be built. This would ensure adequate resources based on an individual’s needs. This nonprofit started back in 2013 as just a mere thought. Dan Everhart, former president of the Chico Peace and Justice Center, made a call for action on the homelessness crisis in Chico. Nearly ten years later, they stand stronger than ever from community support.  

There are currently new developments to build a sleeping-cabins shelter called Everhart Village for Butte County Behavioral Health clients. CHAT also recently added a special housing program within the “Housing Now” umbrella for Butte College students, and their new Wildflower housing program. The Wildflower program is a 12 bedroom house for those living with mental illness and experiencing housing insecurity. This program is now housing eight individuals with an on site case worker who provides resources, lifestyle skills and routine treatment plans.

Case Manager, Cassi White, commented on the impact of CHAT she has seen for her residents.

“I think the program is filling a major gap in this area and in higher education students,” White said. “I think going to college is scary to begin with, students should not have to suffer through the struggles of insecure housing on top of that.”

Abbigail Kovac can be reached at [email protected]