Chestnut Housing Corporation

Our Partners: Strengthening Foundations

What

Affordable housing for those in need.

Chestnut Housing provides affordable rental housing to people experiencing homelessness because a home is the foundation of a healthy and fulfilling life. We connect people and communities of faith with tangible ways to create more affordable homes in Lancaster.

“My people will live in peaceful dwelling places, in secure homes, in undisturbed places of rest.” ~Isaiah 32:18

Why

A need for help.

Each day in Lancaster County, 422 people are homeless and many others find themselves at risk of losing their housing. Burdened by Lancaster County’s rising rents and stagnant wages, an increasing number of families are facing hard choices about how to afford necessities such as housing, food, clothing, transportation, and medical care. Many Lancastrians find themselves just one crisis away from catastrophe, and the effects of the pandemic have worsened the situation for many of the most vulnerable families. Moved by this need, East Chestnut Street Mennonite Church created Chestnut Housing Corporation. The mission of CHC is to partner with people experiencing homelessness– transforming our safe, affordable housing units into their permanent homes.

Locally, in the City of Lancaster, the need for more affordable housing options has reached a critical scale. Rent and home-ownership costs have skyrocketed throughout Chestnut Housing’s decade of work.

At the same time, local officials are making unprecedented commitments to investing in affordable housing, and momentum is building to put citywide focus on creative housing solutions.

So at Chestnut Housing we believe we can do more, so we will do more. In 2022 we adopted a plan to create or preserve 100 homes in five years.

In Lancaster County, a single parent would need to earn almost $20 per hour, nearly three times minimum wage, to afford market rent for a two-bedroom apartment.

How

Housing through donations.

In 2010, CHC acquired a single-family house in the 600 block of East Chestnut Street in Lancaster. After renovations, CHC welcomed the first residents– who had been experiencing homelessness– at an affordable, below-market rate.

Once CHC paid off the first house through generous donations, church members provided the down-payment for a two-apartment townhouse in the 500 block of East Chestnut Street. Lancaster Housing Opportunity Partnership (now Tenfold) offered a long-term, low-interest loan for the remainder; CHC paid that loan in full.

LHOP and Eastern Mennonite Missions then financed CHC’s purchase and renovation of a third building in the 500 block of East Chestnut Street; we were also grateful to receive grant funds from the High Foundation. In 2021, two additional apartments were built on the first floor of the building; construction financing was provided by the Lancaster County Community Foundation.

All in all, Chestnut Housing provides 17 affordable apartments and homes in the City of Lancaster.

OUR PARTNERS

To strengthen the foundation upon which our residents stand, we mobilized community partners to work alongside residents to develop the skills and habits they need to be good stewards of their housing. Our community partners include Tenfold, Community Action Partnership (CAP), Milagro House, Good Samaritan Services, Bridge of Hope, and The Lodge Life Services.

Our partners

Strengthening foundations.

To strengthen the foundation upon which our tenants stand, we mobilized community partners to work alongside our tenants to develop the skills and habits they need to be good stewards of their housing. Our community partners include Tabor Community Services, Milagro House, Good Samaritan Services, and CAP.

Make an Impact

Donate or get involved.

With your help, we can do more!  In the years ahead, CHC plans to purchase and renovate additional units to bring even more Lancastrians home.

To donate or volunteer, please contact Shannon.