St. Alban's Partnership Receives Grant

St. Alban's Partnership Receives Grant

by Cynthia Woods, Board of Directors, Episcopal Foundation of Northern California (EFNC)

St. Alban’s, Arcata and Arcata House Partnership Receives $15,000 ECS Grant

Twenty-four years ago, in the city of Arcata in northwest California, a group of people began the hard work of bringing to light the issues of chronic homelessness. People from the Arcata area, city government and the many faith communities were willing to collaborate to help bring about change. What follows is just one story or facet of this diamond project; one glimmer of hope and one part of the faith community that played a role to make a difference in people’s lives.

It was 1991, and Arcata House was opening its doors to begin their work in the community. At the same time faith leaders like the Rev. Eric Duff, then rector of St. Alban’s Episcopal Church in Arcata, were having conversations with congregants about the possibilities of helping people rise above life on the streets. Support of Arcata House and their volunteers was making a difference in the lives of many people.

Over time, two organizations formed to address some of the identified problems in the community: The All Faith Partnership for Shelter in 2002 and Arcata House in 1991. In 2012, these two establishments merged to form the Arcata House Partnership (AHP).

During the summer of 2014, Episcopal Community Services (ECS) invited proposals for grants through the Anita Weaver Fund, a fund managed by the Episcopal Foundation of Northern California (EFNC). The grant qualifications required the recipient organization to assist homeless people over the age of 50 in finding permanent housing. Bill Strider, who was Jr. Warden at St. Alban’s, Arcata, was familiar with several of the programs provided by AHP, including the Night Shelter and the Extreme Weather Shelter. Bill contacted the Executive Director of AHP, Karen ‘Fox’ Olson and a new collaboration with St. Alban’s began. Like many faith communities, St. Alban’s has had a committed volunteer base and willingness to provided annual financial support to AHP.

St. Alban’s, Bill Strider and Arcata House Partnership grant writer, Shelley Mitchell submitted the request for the Anita Weaver Grant. In January 2015, the AHP was awarded a $15,000 grant. The Very Rev. Sara Potter, current Rector of St. Alban’s (since 2008) stated, “Clearly there has been a long history between St. Alban’s and Arcata House Partnership. With the Anita Weaver Grant in place, a new and promising phase for our organizations has begun.”

Karen ‘Fox’ Olson, reported, “A grant like this one has been a godsend because we can use it to pay for the supportive services these clients need if they are to succeed.” In addition to the many client programs, AHP has been working with Humboldt Housing since 2009 to realize one of the first permanent supportive housing complexes in our state. Caseworkers at AHP are scheduled to place four of their clients in a newly constructed 42-unit complex that will open this summer.

In their first quarterly report, it was noted that 30 clients were currently enrolled in the permanent supportive housing, and 75% (22 people) were over the age of 50. The goal of the grant is to help facilitate a successful transition for people who are chronically homeless, and disabled from living on the streets, into permanent housing. With the necessary systems in place, AHP will continue to provide services that link clients to medical, dental, mental health and substance abuse treatments, as well as transportation and assistance with appointments and paperwork. AHP social workers also work with clients to help them be good tenants and good neighbors. The Anita Weaver Grant goals and the Arcata House Partnership are a great match, as stated in their mission statement: the mission of Arcata House Partnership is to provide a program of assistance to support families and individuals building a more stable life, to educate the community about housing issues and advocate on behalf of homeless people.

To learn more about Arcata House Partnership, please visit their website at, where you can read about the significance of their work in Humboldt County and get their latest news and reports.


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