November 2022 Member Spotlight: Colette’s Children’s Home

Colette’s Children’s Home (CCH) is a nonprofit organization based in Huntington Beach, CA that has provided housing and supportive services to over 5,700 homeless women and children over the past 24 years. Their mission is to provide homeless single women and homeless mothers with children a safe home and nurturing environment where they obtain compassionate support and services needed to achieve self-sufficiency.

CCH began renting a two-bedroom apartment in the city of Huntington Beach in 1998, housing up to 6 homeless women and children each night. The agency now owns and operates 21 Emergency, Transitional, and permanent housing sites. They have the capacity to serve over 400 homeless single women, homeless mothers and children, and low-income individuals at any given point in time. Their shelters are in the cities of Huntington Beach, Fountain Valley, Anaheim, Placentia, and Garden Grove.

To achieve the agency’s goal of self-sufficiency for each client, their program provides help for clients to reunify with their children, resolve legal and financial problems, maintain sobriety, secure gainful employment, and establish a budget and savings plan whereby 80% of their discretionary income is placed in a savings account to ensure the financial means to continued stability upon program graduation. They also support increased self-determination and self-sufficiency through Life Skills class meetings held once a week in the evenings. These classes address topics such as parenting, job skills, securing employment, financial budgeting and management, reunification with children, and substance abuse relapse prevention.

Each client is assigned a case manager who works with her to identify the issues that led to their homeless. A recovery or work plan is then developed with clearly defined goals and objectives to overcome the challenges that caused their client to become homeless.

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Family 1

In addition to shelter, CCH also provides a total support system such as housing, utilities, food vouchers, bus passes/gas cards, clothing, and hygiene products. CCH works with their clients to help determine healthy relationships the families have in their lives. CCH seeks to encourage the healing of damaged family relationships, the building of trust and support among friends, and connecting them to the services needed to help achieve the transition to affordable, permanent housing. CCH serves to improve society by healing homeless women from substance abuse, domestic violence and unemployment while keeping the family together. This includes improving other life skills of their clients and creating a stable home environment for their children. This benefits the family as well as the larger community. The client (and her children) is nurtured and supported by others who can serve as positive role models. They gain increased social contacts, emotional support and improved confidence and empowerment to establish their own definitions of success. By nurturing the family, the children are more likely to have a safe environment, have well balanced meals, attend school on a regular basis, succeed in academics, and establish a sense of accomplishment and personal confidence that will lay a foundation for the rest of their lives.

CCH recognizes there are many successful steps their clients take on the road to graduating from their program and becoming self-sufficient. They consider the program successful by reaching the following goals last year: – 94 women obtained/sustained full time employment – 130 women and children who left their programs entered permanent housing – 100% of their clients gained knowledge and skills and develop behaviors to improve their life – 26 mothers reunified with 51 children – $171,679.10 client’s savings deposited into their Client Savings Program. Their goal is for the women they house and serve to become self-sufficient, by obtaining full time gainful employment and transition from homelessness to stable and independent housing.

Along with comprehensive, goal-oriented support services, they offer practical assistance such as food cards, bus passes, hygiene supplies, and household items. CCH has a long established and collaborative relationship with other agencies in the area where they refer clients for counseling, healthcare, childcare, job training, and education.

CCH also hosts family-centered events year-round including holiday parties, picnics, opportunities to attend professional sporting events and theater productions as well as many other volunteer-run events. All these activities are designed to support and enrich the lives of their mothers and children, helping them build positive family memories while working toward major goals of independence and self-sufficiency when residing in their shelter programs. They keep in touch and provide follow-up care long after their client’s graduate.

Values: Compassion for those in need, commitment to each other and those they serve, confidentiality to maintain anonymity and dignity, physical and emotional safety to protect our women and children, dedication to service, agency integrity, and program excellence.

Three Core Housing Programs

Emergency Shelter Program: Provides emergency services for up to 90 days.

Transitional Housing Program: Provides shelter and support services for an average 5 months.

Permanent Housing Program: Provides permanent, affordable housing to graduates and members of the community.

CCH believes that embracing diversity, equity, and inclusion as organizational values is a way to intentionally make space for positive outcomes to flourish, whether in direct services or in the nonprofit or public policy spheres. CCH ensures that every client is provided a fair opportunity to succeed based on their individual needs and aspirations. CCH empowers their clients to be their best and ensures that everyone is treated fairly. CCH is committed to advancing social and economic equity within their policies and program decisions to achieve the goal of advancing fairness, inclusion, and opportunity for their clients.

CCH recognizes that, acting alone, they will not be able to eliminate family homelessness in Orange County, but they are creating a replicable model of systemic change that impacts the lives of the homeless women and children they serve.

To learn more about our member, Colette’s Children’s Home, visit: