Our Mission

Chestnut Housing provides affordable rental housing to people experiencing homelessness because a home is the foundation of a healthy and fulfilling life. We connect people and communities of faith with tangible ways to create more affordable homes in Lancaster.

“My people will live in peaceful dwelling places, in secure homes, in undisturbed places of rest.” 

Isaiah 32: 18

Core Values and Beliefs: Rooted in Faith

We believe housing is a human right, and that everyone in our community deserves the opportunity to live in safe, attractive, affordable housing. We further believe families and individuals experiencing homelessness must have access to homes they can afford. We advocate for broad housing solutions and seek opportunities to increase public awareness of issues related to affordable housing.

We believe people of faith and goodwill are called to respond with compassion to neighbors and strangers alike to address basic human needs including housing, food security, education, employment, and physical and mental health. 

We value faith in action–we are doers! We act in the face of inequity, and show empathy in response to suffering. We lead by example and embrace practical solutions to housing challenges. We are thrifty and hardworking. We enthusiastically work with volunteers to provide meaningful sweat equity that increases the impact we have in our community. 

We value community and believe we share responsibility for the health, well-being, and vitality of our neighbors. 

We believe in long-term commitment. Our mission began in the neighborhood where East Chestnut Street Mennonite Church has been invested for almost 150 years. Our founding board members have personally invested in the mission of CHC for over a decade. 

Commitment to Equity in Housing

We recognize that systemic racism and white privilege permeate American history, and continue to plague our society, economy, politics, and interpersonal relationships in the present. More than a century of racial discrimination in lending and real estate practices have conspired to make housing a particularly unequal and unjust part of our economy. And we understand the deeply broken and profoundly violent legacies of forced removal of Native American peoples from their ancestral lands and the enslavement of African-Americans as particularly insidious forms of racism still impacting access to land, property, capital, and generational wealth.

Chestnut Housing is committed to antiracism, dismantling white privilege, and nondiscrimination within our organization, in our partnerships, and in our community. We embrace fair housing principles and are especially committed to advocating for racial justice and equity in housing. Ultimately, we see our mission to provide affordable housing as an important, if modest, step of restoration, healing, and economic justice.