Serving East County and beyond since 1970
Crisis House was established in 1970 in Santee, CA by a small group of local citizens who recognized the need to provide emergency services to very low income, homeless and underserved people. The organization later moved to Main Street in El Cajon, expanded services to support families, became a non-profit 501(c)(3) charity in 1978, and were the first community-based social service agency in the East County region of San Diego.
The mission of Crisis House is to respond immediately to stop the cycle of domestic violence and homelessness and connect families and individuals to crucial resources that empower them to renew their lives.
In 1994, Crisis House moved to North Magnolia Ave. in El Cajon, CA and created a landmark multi-service Resource Center with emergency and social services, 24-hour crisis line and professional counseling services, and a robust intern-training program to provide counseling for those in crisis. The Center became the hub for emergency and social services in the region and the first place people turned to for assistance when in crisis. They supported men, women and children in overcoming complex and challenging circumstance, including homelessness, domestic violence, health conditions, and lack of access to food and housing. Thirteen years later, Crisis House added supervised visitation services for court-mandated parents to reunify with their children, after school care, human trafficking programming and a legal clinic. Crisis House hosts the annual East County Project Homeless Connect, a national initiative to access over 40 organizations in one day to support those experiencing chronic homelessness toward health and housing. Building on the belief that everyone deserves a safe home, Crisis House added transitional housing programs for women and children fleeing domestic violence, and for individuals and families experiencing homelessness.
Crisis House was the only Emergency Resource Center in the East County serving the homeless without an appointment. The Center offered crisis intervention, information and referrals, mail and safe storage, restrooms, showers, hygiene kits, emergency clothing, hot meals, Food and Infant Pantry, mobile clinic, case management and legal advocacy, respite from the street and more. In 2016, Crisis House significantly expanded its housing programs for families fleeing domestic violence into a comprehensive continuum of housing to include emergency, transitional and permanent housing with wrap-around counseling and case management services. Aligning programing with housing first principles, Crisis House also added two rapid re-housing programs for individuals and families experiencing chronic homelessness. All four of the cities in East County identified Crisis House as the agency to bring more rapid re-housing programs to the region. The Regional Task Force on the Homeless designated Crisis House as the only Point of Entry Site for homeless housing diversion and assessment services in East County, serving nearly 5,000 people with 18,000 different services in 2019. In collaboration with the Regional Task Force on the Homeless, Crisis House coordinates the annual homeless point-in-time count in El Cajon.
In 2020, Crisis House continues to be the leading provider of crucial services for women, men and children who have survived domestic violence, along with outreach and housing for those experiencing homelessness in the East County region. Each year, 508 people (172 households with 330 children) are lifted out of homelessness because of Crisis House’s person-centered, trauma-informed staff, programs, and partnerships, particularly their 20-year partnership with Soroptimist International of Poway and North San Diego County. Crisis House has a proven track record of success with ninety-nine percent (99%) of those who leave transitional housing acquiring permanent housing. Notably, the New Journey transitional housing program for abused women and their children was ranked as the number one housing program in the region in 2016 and 2018 by the Regional Continuum of Care Council. The Journey Home rapid re-housing program ranked second (2nd) in that same year.
Crisis House believes that addressing the needs of both mother and child after domestic violence abuse is critical to a successful and independent future. Our recent programmatic development, Camp HOPE America-San Diego, address the needs of the children traumatized by domestic violence. Camp HOPE includes a year-round trauma-informed mentorship and camping program for 125+ children annually. The pipeline from childhood trauma to prison and a lifetime of victimization is one traveled by many growing up in child abuse and domestic violence-impacted homes. The University of Oklahoma’s Hope Research Center has hailed Camp HOPE as a “pathway of hope” for children who witness domestic violence and evaluates the programming annually.
In the Spring of 2020, the City of El Cajon ended its 26 year lease with Crisis House and the agency purchased a new property in the city in which it was founded 50 years ago, Santee, CA. Although Crisis House will be occupying a new home, it will continue to embrace the same timeless mission.
Crisis House is governed by a Board of Directors who oversee the activities of the agency. Directors are volunteers and receive no monetary compensation for their service.