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2010 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Mutual Housing California

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Children & Youth, Homeless & Housing, Housing Development, Construction & Management, Leadership Development, Youth Development

Mission: Mutual Housing's mission is to develop and operate permanently affordable housing that builds strong and stable communities through resident participation and leadership development. In the pursuit of that mission, Mutual Housing has provided leadership training to thousands of people and developed more than 1,000 affordable homes for low and very low-income families in Sacramento and Yolo Counties. Currently, we house more than 3,000 people. We build green housing and renovate for energy efficiency to contribute to sustainable communities and lower utility usage and expense.

Results: We continue to substantially increase our capacity to incorporate green building design and construction techniques to help improve the health of low-income residents and decrease our carbon footprint. This year we have extended our green building activities to include a major new initiative to rehabilitate and preserve existing affordable housing stock. Also this year, Mutual Housing began construction of 90 new apartments in North Highlands, where 66 new homes will be reserved for formerly homeless individuals. In addition, we are progressing through the predevelopment phase of 69 new townhomes in the city of Davis. Both of these new construction projects are being built to very high green design standards. As we work to increase and improve affordable housing opportunities, Mutual Housing also continues to create new, dynamic resident programs that serve not only our residents but those of the neighborhoods surrounding our communities. In 2011, we will again offer dozens of youth-oriented activities and programs, financial education workshops, dynamic technology education classes, tax preparation assistance programs, and arts, cultural and safety programs. By combining housing development, asset-based community development, and financial education, Mutual Housing and its collaborative partners are building stronger neighborhoods and helping residents attain economic independence.

Direct beneficiaries per year: 3,000 individuals, nearly half of whom are children.

Programs: In addition to providing housing for the diverse households in our region, we provide: financial education leadership development youth development and after-school programs arts and culture opportunities multicultural organizing skills building renovation of deteriorating and aging housing tax form completion and filing assistance and many other programs to support stable households.

Community Stories

20 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Mutual Housing is a valued and crucial partner with Volunteers of America transitional housing programs. Mutual Housing provides Volunteers of America referred clients comfortable, well maintained, and properly managed apartment units. Mutual Housing and the Property Managers are very understanding of the issues of low-income households and do an amazing job of accommodating Volunteers of America clients. Any Volunteers of America client issues at an apartment are address in a respectful and timely manner. This allows for Volunteers of America staff to intervene to resolve issues.

Previous Stories

Volunteer

Rating: 5

While in the Master of Social Work program at CSUS, I sought out enriching internship (aka field placement) opportunities in affordable housing. Through partnerships and great working relationships between CHOC, SMHA, and CSUS I was able to intern at SMHA even though there was no MSW or LCSW there. SMHA and CSUS were great in creating a supervision structure for me since I was eager to learn about community development. The Lead Community Organizers who did immediate supervision had Master degrees and provided a great wealth of knowledge. SMHA stresses the importance of developing relationships. Getting first hand experience in the mutual housing model gave me great perspective and confidence adding on to my knowledge of service enriched housing. SMHA is really great about reaching out to extremely culturally diverse populations.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Mutual Housing California is a very dedicated and well organized nonprofit organization. I had the opportunity to volunteer at several of their events and I've never seen so many dedicated people working together with the community and ensuring that everyone is acknowledged and welcomed.

Volunteer

Rating: 4

Mutual Housing helps the community evolve. It helps with rebuilding the communities apartment and because of that, tenants are going to be happier. Mutual Housing also helps with teens and students get involve with their communities.

3 Julianna G.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Julie: I'm currently at Mutual Housing working with the Housing Department as a recent graduate and intern in construction management and design. Mutual Housing has taught me how important and how purposeful their mission is, in building affordable housing for our communities. It has been a privilege to work with such dedicated and passionate people who care about families who need safe and healthy homes. Mutual Housing is giving hope to the next generation.

3

Advisor

Rating: 5

Mutual Housing provides a much-needed service by building housing that is affordable to the average person, retail clerks in stores, veterinary technicians and others. They also build leaders from residents through their many programs. And, they build sustainable communities.

Previous Stories

Client Served

Rating: 5

Mutual Housing communities are made up of many single mothers. Half of the residents are children. Affordable rents often mean the difference between a stable home and the street. Or the difference between heaving heat in the winter or food. Or glasses or cavities filled.

In the Sacramento-Roseville area, the rent for a two-bedroom apartment is $1,050. In order to afford rent and utilities, without paying more than 30% of income on housing, a household must earn $42,000 annually. With a 40-hour work week, 52 weeks per year, this level of income translates into a wage of $20.19 per hour.

In Sacramento-Roseville area, the average wage for a renter is $13.78 an hour. In order to afford a two-bedroom apartment, a renter must work 59 hours per week, 52 weeks per year. Or, working 40 hours per week year-round, a household must have 1.5 workers earning the mean renter wage in order to make the two-bedroom affordable.

At a minimum hourly wage of $8.00, that person must work 101 hours per week, 52 weeks per year. Or, a household must have 2.5 people at minimum wage working 40 hours per week year-round in order to afford a typical two bedroom apartment.

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Client Served

Rating: 5

I moved in one of the mutual housing complexes five years ago. Its so nice. I have a washer and a dryer that work, a dishwasher, and there is a big place that my kids can play in that is safe. It is beautiful here and we dont get huge rent increases so i can afford to stay. I finally have 3 bed rooms so I can have my own room from my children. Before I lived here I had to live in an apartment in the same part of town but the landlord never fixed anything. My friend told me about the mutual housing, and it is so much better. I can't afford a computer for my kids, so my older kids use the computers in the community building that are there for all the residents.

2

Client Served

Rating: 1

My wife and I reside at a property managed by SMHA. My wife has been critically ill for the last several years. More recently she has been institutionalized for the last 10 1/2 months of the last year.

Even given all this SMHA has the immense stupidity of trying to evict us of all things, yardwork. Up until 3 1/2 years ago I was a member of the Board Of Directors of SMHA. The executive director knows my wife and I personally.

If this is how they treat friends, how do you think they would treat you?
Such great community builders they are evicting a dying invalid and a disabled veteran.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

i love volunteering for SMHA they gave me more experience for a job and i enjoy doing it.. thank you for giving me a great opportunity....

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

SMHA is unique in its pursuit of good business strategies with good and caring people strategies. Its staff never loses sight of its mission: providing affordable housing to the community and the services and supports needed to make it work for everyone. I worked with them closely on getting a much needed affordable housing development approved and sited in Davis and, against tremendous odds and misinformed and vocal opponents, SMHA marshaled all necessary resources and obtained approval. Professional, tough-minded, results-oriented and compassionate. These words sum up what SMHA is all about.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been familiar with the work of SMHA for many years, but I never really understood the lifelong impact of their services on residents, volunteers, staff and board members until I interned with them for a summer. As an SMHA intern I collaborated with residents to facilitate youth computer and art programs. I also supported resident families in navigating bureaucratic processes in order to receive social services. I formed friendships with people of many ages and cultures as both residents and staff members who all share a commitment to cultivating safe, supportive, and educated communities. I feel privileged to have been a part of SMHA. I am inspired by their mission and the passion with which they fulfill it every day.

Board Member

Rating: 5

I was first a volunteer on the finance committee for SMHA and then went on the Board as a Director, Treasurer, and Chairman/President. During the over 15 years I served with SMHA, I saw many residents gain the experience and confidence to become leaders in the communities that they lived in, serving on Resident Councils and on the Board of Directors. I am most proud of the residents who, through education and self motivation, contributed to SMHA while they lived there and then went on to become established homeowners. One other additional unique facet of SMHA is that the current Executive Director, Rachel Iskow, and additionally supported by the Board of Directors over the years, has worked tirelessly to establish partnerships with donors, public agencies, lenders, and private parties to build up the supply of low income housing which is SMHA's primary mission. In closing, I feel privileged to have worked with Residents, SMHA Staff, and Directors over the years and will remain a supporter forever.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

SMHA is a wonderful organization that I did not really have a grasp for what they do for the community unitl I attended one of their presentations. What they do for families is awesome and it just proved to me once again with a little help people can help people overcome adversity and help them get on their way.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I have worked with SMHA for over ten years and have been touched by the level of compassion and honesty with which they do their work. We provide construction services for them and they have inspired our personnel and created a deeper understanding of what it means to share with one another. They have made us a better firm, their communities are places of hope and caring and they have improved Sacramento and Yolo County by their work. Our gratitude to Rachel and her fine staff!

1 ebender

Volunteer

Rating: 5

When I first began volunteering for SMHA, I quickly learned I would be a life-time, committed helper. The organizers and staff that work there go over and beyond their job requirements. There is so much compassion for each other and the residents they serve. They are truly making a difference in the many communities they own. There is so much opportunity for volunteers like me, to help. Communities are diverse; I like to focus my time on helping youth in the South Sacramento area.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

As a legal services attorney who provides no cost civil legal services to low-income communities in furtherance of an anti-poverty agenda, I have worked with SMHA to improve the scope and quality of housing that is safe, supportive, and in which it is affordable to live. I have watched as SMHA has advanced its agenda and been at the cutting edge of green building and design of its beautiful residential units, stood at SMHA's side as it faced and overcame wrong-headed opposition to its new projects in opportunity-rich communities, and watched with great admiration as SMHA's dedicated and highly skilled staff creates stable, supportive living communities for low-income people and families. SMHA is a premier low-income housing developer and receives my highest recommendation.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I had the opportunity to work with Sacramento Mutual Housing Association on a community engagement project last year. My organization, the Sacramento Housing Alliance, wanted to engage residents in an area served by SMHA in order to get a better understanding of the assets and challenges in the community, and how our programs could help. The community has a large South East Asian population, necessitating cultural and language interpretation. SMHA provided this service for our events, and drew upon their longstanding relationship with this community to help us work in the community more effectively. The trust that SMHA had developed in the community, as well as the tireless work they do to empower and build the capacity of the community members (all while providing affordable housing), was very apparent during the event.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Sacramento Mutual Housing Association is a highly regarded non-profit that works to better the lives of families and inviduals throughout the greater Sacramento area. SMHA communities not only provide housing stability and greater opportunity for the people that live in their complexes, but they also enhance and improve the neighborhoods that they become a part of. The stories about the lives changed by Mutual Housing are heartwarming and emotional. They build housing, but more importantly they empower people to build stronger, safer and healthier communities.