The Origin of CCDC and Congregational Tower
The Community Congregational Development Corporation (“CCDC”) is a non-profit corporation (501(c)(3)) with the mission of providing services to seniors in Chula Vista and the South Bay area of San Diego County, California. It was started to provide affordable housing to seniors, which it accomplished through construction and maintenance of the Congregational Tower in Chula Vista. After CCDC sold most of its interest in the Congregational Tower, CCDC attempted to locate a new project to build affordable housing. When its efforts to obtain property for housing were unsuccessful, CCDC pivoted to use its funds to help South Bay seniors in other ways.
CCDC’s current mission includes, in addition to building affordable housing, funding projects to provide affordable transportation, the easing of social isolation, and helping seniors age in place in their homes. CCDC does not provide services directly. CCDC grants funding to non-profit groups that do provide suitable services to South Bay Seniors.
It all began when it was brought to the attention of the members of the Community Congregational Church of Chula Vista, UCC (“Church”) that a lumber company property located next to Church property was for sale. In 1968 the Church purchased the land, where it built a sixteen story apartment complex for senior citizens. It stands today as a landmark — the Congregational Tower in Chula Vista. In January of 1969 a consultant for senior citizen housing explained in detail how to begin such project, and how financing from the federal government could be obtained. Later that year the Church membership voted to proceed with the building. Some difficulty in obtaining federal funds was experienced, and several times during the planning and construction the project was threatened by one unforeseen problem after another. Surely, it was a “venture of faith,” as Rev. Dr. Sorenson so aptly described it.
By 1970 the government funding was secured and the advance funding was returned to the Church. Groundbreaking ceremonies were held on Sunday, June 25, 1972, with representatives of the City of Chula Vista, Church officials, architects and consultants, as well as Dr. Sorensen and members of the CCDC Board of Directors. In 1973, tenants began moving in to the building early in August and it was dedicated September 16. A management firm was hired to assume financial management responsibility of the building. The building Steering Committee had become the Congregational Development Corporation, and later became Community Congregational Development Corporation – CCDC.
Around 2012 it became apparent that the building was in need of rehabilitation. In order to finance the needed work, CCDC sold a controlling interest in the facility to the Retirement Housing Foundation (”RHF”). At that time RHF assumed financial management responsibility of the Tower. The Retirement Housing Foundation is a non-profit foundation that provides housing to over 20,000 seniors in over 167 facilities located in more than 29 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
Today, the Congregational Tower is a modern 16-story apartment building providing affordable housing especially for active senior citizens. It still contains 186 apartments: 124 efficiency apartments, 61 one-bedroom apartments, and a staff apartment. The one-bedroom apartments are reserved for two-person occupancies. Each apartment has a living room, bath and kitchen. The building is fully heated and air conditioned. The first floor contains the building offices, a spacious lobby and a recreation room for resident activities. Rent is 30% of adjusted income and subsidized under the Federal Section 8 Program or Section 236 Program. Rent is computed immediately prior to moving in, and adjusted annually. Rents include carpeting, blinds, ranges, refrigerators, garbage disposals, and all utilities (except telephone). Parking is limited. There is a waiting list for apartments and parking spaces. The Tower is a very valuable asset to the Church and the South Bay Community – a mission of CCDC that has been very effective over the years!
Since sale of its interest in the Congregational Tower, CCDC has attempted to purchase property to build additional affordable housing for seniors. When suitable land could not be found in the South Bay, CCDC amended its By-Laws to allow it to fund projects throughout the County of San Diego. For various reasons, CCDC has not been successful in creating or acquiring new affordable housing.