The Chico Housing Action Team proposes a village for the homeless


CHICO, Calif. - The Chico Housing Action Team (CHAT) has a proposal for Butte County Officials: a village for the homeless.

Charles Withuhn, the director of the "Simplicity Village" Project and board member of CHAT, says there is a shortage of shelters for homeless people in Butte County.

Withuhn said that CHAT wants to create a village where homeless people can reside. The proposed village will have 35 sheds accommodating two people in each house.

"This is an opportunity for Butte County and Chico to get some homeless people off the street," said Withuhn.

CHAT plans to interview the people who want to live in Simplicity Village. Tenants would have to be willing to work and their rent would be $150 dollars a month.

According to CHAT, the village would also offer activities that teach basic working skills to slowly help the homeless people back into society.

"This isn't a handout to the homeless," said Withuhn. "This is a working structure to help people that want to get their lives going again. It's a working village that is successful in several other communities in the West Coast."

In order for CHAT to start the project, the county needs to declare a "shelter in crisis." Under the crisis, CHAT will be relieved of housing code requirements. Simplicity Village would have a communal kitchen and showering options but not by traditional building standards.

CHAT has already met with all but one of the Butte County supervisors and says that the discussion for the declaration of a shelter crisis is on their agenda for September.

The group is a nonprofit organization and is hoping to raise $160,000 from donations and possible grants to launch the village project.

"It's the least expensive way to get the most amount of people off the streets in the least amount of time," said Withuhn.