Finding decent affordable housing in this region is a constant challenge. COPA works to raise the political will to create more housing that our families can afford both to rent and purchase. The problem presently is made worse by the high number of foreclosures. COPA is working on strategies to prevent foreclosure to keep people in their homes, by providing direct counseling and by organizing to affect federal and state policies.

COPA leaders have provided counseling to over 160 families, resulting in 21 loan modifications so far, a ratio higher than the national average. Organizing primarily through Assumption Catholic Church in Pajaro, COPA leaders have brought families out of their isolated suffering and instead provided them with mutual support, collaborative learning and resources to seek modifications.

COPA is currently organizing to create more opportunities for affordable housing in Monterey County, particularly on the Monterey Peninsula.  Additionally, COPA is work to protect the Santa Cruz County affordable housing ordinance that COPA fought to create.

Maria Rocha tells her story of foreclosure at an IAF press conference before meeting with the CA Housing Finance Authority.


  • In June 2004, COPA won a unanimous vote from the Santa Cruz Board of Supervisors for an ordinance requiring that at least 40% of homes be constructed for moderate, low and very-low income families when land is re-zoned for residential use. Read “County OKs novel housing approach,” Santa Cruz Sentinel, June 23, 2004.
  • Adoption of a Housing Element by the Santa Cruz County Board of Supervisors, June 2007. This historic action ended more than 20 years of political neglect of the need for affordable housing in Santa Cruz County, allowing for 600 units of housing on 6 parcels, including 297 for low and moderate income families. Read “County’s new housing plan may come without nasty fights,” Santa Cruz Sentinel, June 24, 2009.
  • Launched a Foreclosure Prevention strategy, Spring 2009. At Assumption Catholic Church in Pajaro, over 200 families engaged in house meetings to develop mutual support and learning to prevent foreclosures. Counseling was provided for 159 homeowners, twenty one families have succeeded to date in getting their loans modified and more modifications are pending. COPA has a HUD-certified counselor working as a volunteer to provide counseling to families eligible to participate in the Treasury Department’s HAMP program. Read “Churches helping people keep their homes,” Santa Cruz Sentinel, April 2010.
  • Testified at July 13, 2010 California Housing Finance Authority hearing with sister IAF organizations. Presented an alternative to CalHFA’s proposal to only provide 6 to 22% subsidy to the banks, and therefore, spread the taxpayer funding to a larger number of households. Convinced CalHFA to commit $10 million to fund OneLA’s pilot program ( of principal reduction in the San Fernando Valley. Read “Activists: CalHFA Principal Reduction write down plan is bank ‘bailout,” The Sacramento Bee, June 2010.
  • Construction of 40 low-income rental units approved by Board of Supervisors, August 2010. As a result of passage of the county Housing Element, Mid-Peninsula Housing was granted $3.15 million in RDA funds to construct the Aptos Cottages on the Miller property. Read COPA press release.

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