The History of Emmaus HouseEmmaus House
In the winter of 1995, Charlie Maki and David Rodriguez were going to the Russian River to help the Red Cross with flood relief. As they traveled to help people who had just lost their homes, they started talking about the homeless in their home area. As they discussed the homeless population and the lack of available resources to help them, they decided to focus on the most vulnerable segment of the homeless population, battered women and children.

When Charlie and David returned home they met with several local pastors: Father Gary Byrne, Sacred Heart Catholic Church; Rev. Richard Smith, Hollister United Methodist Church; Rev. Jerry Guthrie, Trinity Lutheran Church; Rev. Shari Grover, First Presbyterian Church; and Pastor Joe Malinson of the Hollister Seventh-day Adventist Church. They also met with local community leaders: Phyllis and Jerry Krinn, of San Benito County Chapter of the American Red Cross; Gil Solis, Santa Clara county Migrant Education Office; Dr. Brian Lippincott; Jade Sandifer; and Jennifer Heartherington. This group formed the original Board of Directors. The first task was to incorporate as a non-profit 501(c)3 Corporation with the state of California.

In looking for a facility, the board considered buying a house, renting a house, or using a building owned by San Benito County. During this search process, Jade Sandifer, of Blue Print Design, drew up four different sets of plans for various buildings. The City of Hollister and San Benito County both required public hearings in order to obtain a conditional-use permit. It soon became apparent that the location of the facility would not be a secret in San Benito County.

In time, the City of Hollister offered the use of a house it owned. Since this house required extensive and costly remodeling, the city granted us permission to demolish it in 1998. This demolition was conducted by several Presbyterian churches in the Presbytery of San Jose and United States Marines from Hayward, California.

The current facility was designed by Jade Sandifer. She incorporated many security features found in other shelters. The volunteer contractors overseeing construction were Gary Sandifer and Darin DelCurto. Other builders in the community have donated materials and labor. Various businesses in the community, the United Way, and grant organizations have donated money. In addition, many individuals in the community have donated funds and furniture for Emmaus House.

Emmaus House was named after the Biblical story found in Luke 24:13-35. Two of Jesus' disciples met the resurrected Lord while traveling from Jerusalem to the city of Emmaus. In Emmaus, they invited Jesus to an Inn and sat down to eat supper together. While dining, they finally realized that they were eating with Jesus. We hope that when people come to Emmaus House for shelter that they will meet the resurrected Lord Jesus Christ as well.