About Community Services Development Corporation
Community Services Development Corporation (“CSDC”) is a non-profit public benefit corporation that serves San Benito County only. As a non-profit corporation, we rely on an all-volunteer Board of Directors for oversight of the agency. This dedicated group of community members has worked diligently over the years to ensure that the CSDC programs and services have met the needs of low-income resident in the community. We thank our current Board Members, as well as past Directors who made substantial contributions in serving the community:
 Fernando Gonzalez  David Wright    Pauline Valdivia
 Alan Clark        Joe Garcia     
 Sam Armstrong  Frank Sabbatini  Gilbert Fresquez
 Hanna Hassler  Celia Sepulveda  Robert Postigo
 E.M. “Slim” Swart  Jose Alvarez  Will Sutton

 Barbara Andres

   Renee Kunz

  Tarra Chaffee

  Francisco Diaz 
 Jeff Conway

Art Soza

Origins of CSDC

The Community Action Agency (CAA) is a government organization that helps to meet the needs of low-income residents in San Benito County. During the early 1980’s, the Board of Directors of CAA saw the need for the formation of a non-profit agency that could access specific funding sources unavailable to local governmental entities to help low-income residents of our community, as well as to purchase property for affordable housing. The CAA was instrumental in forming Community Services Development (“CSDC”). CSDC was incorporated in 1984. CSDC operated with a part-time executive director, Herman Fehl, throughout much of its existence. 

The Early Years 

Weatherization of low-income rental and owner occupied housing was the first project taken on by CSDC in 1984. High gas and electric costs coupled with sometimes substandard or energy inefficient design housing caused many low-income residents to incur utility bills too large to pay. This forced families to have their gas and electric shut off or to seek assistance from utility payment programs operated by the County. The weatherization program (link to weatherization page) provides minor repairs to homes and installation of other energy savings measures to reduce the energy costs. 

CSDC acted as the fiscal agent for a developing organization that later became the Community Pantry, which is the county’s current food bank for needy residents. CSDC’s role as a fiscal agent allowed Community Pantry to initiate services, obtain tax-deductible donations, and grant funds without under CSDC’s tax-exempt status. This arrangement allowed Community Pantry to respond quickly to an identified, while giving it time to receive government approval as a nonprofit, public benefit corporation, as well as to develop necessary administrative functions to act autonomously. After reaching these goals, Community Pantry became an independent organization that continues to serve San Benito County to this day. 

As one of the fastest growing counties in the State, the need for childcare services became critical with the increasing population growth in the community during the late1980’s. CSDC responded to this need by obtaining funds to conduct training that allowed family day care providers to obtain licensure to provide day care. Family day care providers operate programs from their homes and provide affordable childcare services. 

The Loma Prieta Earthquake

At 5:04 P.M., Tuesday, October 17, 1989 a Richter magnitude 7.1 earthquake struck with its epicenter near Loma Prieta in San Cruz County. The earthquake caused damage to building in the City of Hollister, including many low-income rental and owner occupied dwellings, so severe that residents could not return to live in their homes. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (“FEMA”) constructed a mobile home park to house low-income residents displaced because of damage to their dwellings. 

In the spirit of community cooperation, private citizens, local, state, and federal government, disaster relief organizations, businesses, and non-profit agencies helped to alleviate the damage caused by the earthquake to residents of the community, especially those low-income residents displaced from their homes. This collaborative effort resulted in CSDC obtaining funds to purchase twelve apartments to house low-income residents who could not return to their dwellings. CSDC purchased three four-unit buildings on Del Rio Court using these funds. As the original residents in the Del Rio Court units moved out, CSDC has rented the Del Rio units to other low-income families. The original Del Rio tenants were those residents who had been residing in the mobile homes park set up by FEMA. 

Approximately one year after FEMA vacated the mobile home park it constructed, CSDC in combination with San Benito County Community Services and Workforce Development (“CSWD”) developed and implemented plans to use the mobile home park as a homeless shelter. (link to homeless shelter page) CSDC and CSWD acquired mobile homes over the years and the current mobile home park contains sixteen units. This program provides assistance for families to develop the resources to move into and maintain permanent housing. 

The 1990’

As the population in San Benito County grew the demand for housing exceeded the supply. This caused dramatic increases in housing costs. This contributed to the area seeing low vacancy rates, which resulted in higher rents. Moreover, the last affordable rental units were built in 1985. These factors made it difficult for low-income residents to find affordable housing. Low-income residents were faced with the choice of moving from the area, living in overcrowded conditions, or inhabiting affordable but substandard housing. These circumstances spurred CSDC to move toward the development of affordable housing. 

In early 1990, in conjunction with the Board of Supervisors of San Benito County, CSDC acquired a county-owned parcel of land at the corner of Southside and Hospital Roads. The County extended a low interest loan to CSDC to construct the subdivision improvements. During the remaining part of this decade, CSDC worked on obtaining the needed approvals and to develop the infrastructure to build a 56-unit subdivision of single- family homes that would be sold at prices affordable to low and moderate-income residents. The plan was to build half of the homes for moderate-income residents and the remaining twenty-eight units were to be self-help built homes. The project was named Riverview Estates (link to Riverview Estates page) based on its close proximity to the San Benito River. 

CSDC also worked with San Benito County to convert a warehouse located off San Felipe Road into a 52,000 square foot office building. The idea was to build a “one-stop center” where residents of the community could come to facility to access an array of human and health services. The one stop center concept was one of the first built in the United States. With the help of Leon Panetta, then White House Chief of Staff for President Clinton, and later, Representative Sam Farr, CSDC obtained low-interest financing from the United States Department of Agriculture to construct the office building. Today, the one stop center house the State Unemployment Development Department, San Benito County Mental Health, Health and Human Services Agency, Substance Abuse Agency, and Community Services and Workforce Development, and a temporary employment placement company, an agency that provides referrals for child care and subsidized child care for low income residents, and the Economic Development Corporation that helps to develop new businesses in the community that will employ local residents. 

CSDC helped the Private Industry Council to construct a childcare and head start center on land owned by CSDC.  

The New Millennium 

The year 2000 saw tremendous growth in CSDC. The Board of Directors decided to move forward with ambitious plans for CSDC to be in the forefront of low-income housing development. To help realize these goals, the Board hired its first full-time executive director, Brian R. Abbott. Moreover, ground was broken on the Riverview Estates subdivision and CSDC increased the number of rental units. 

By early January 2001, the improvements for the Riverview Estates subdivision were completed. By August 2001, construction of the moderate-income homes was started. Two local builders, Nino Construction and C.S. Nino Construction, constructed the homes that were priced for moderate-income buyers to purchase. The homes sold at 46% below market rate. The first owners moved in by November 2001 and all homes were occupied by January 2002. The self-help built homes were developed by South County Housing located in Gilroy and these homes were completed by the summer of 2002. 

CSDC acquired thirteen units of existing housing that was converted into low-income housing, including two multifamily properties consisting of six units each during 2000. The multifamily units were considered blighted and CSDC worked with the City of Hollister Redevelopment Agency to rehabilitate the properties. More than $250,000 was invested to proved safe and healthy housing units that will remain affordable in perpetuity. These projects were completed in 2001. The rents for these units are affordable for low-income residents, which is 40% below market rate. 

In collaboration with San Benito County Community Services and Workforce Development, CSDC purchased a four-bedroom house that was converted into a low-income rental unit. This was a first step toward providing affordable rental housing suitable for large families. Currently, CSDC is furthering this goal by planning to construct twenty-two new apartments of which sixteen will be four-bedroom units and six will be three bedroom units.           

CSDC continues to work toward meeting the housing needs of low-income residents of the community. Affordable rental housing has become a priority in the community. Rising home prices prevent more and more families from buying a home. This contributes to the increased number of persons renting. High demand for rental housing has, in turn, lowered vacancy rates, as well as increasing rental prices beyond the means of low-income renters. Moreover, no affordable multifamily units have been built in the community for ten years. These circumstances have caused low-income families to live in overcrowded, unhealthy, or unsafe conditions to obtain affordable rents. CSDC has responded by proposing to build twenty-two new multifamily units (link to what’s new) that are suitable for larger families. 

CSDC recognizes the great need for high quality housing that is affordable to low-income residents. Toward this end, CSDC will continue to advocate and facilitate the development of increased housing that meets the needs of and which is affordable to low-income residents of our community.