COAP was conceived in 1977 after a '100 year' flood caused a widespread destruction of homes in Harlan County. The Mennonite Disaster Service came to the area and helped in the cleanup in the aftermath of the flood. They saw the need for a longer term involvement which included the building of new houses.
Christian Family Housing was born and volunteers were used to build new homes as well as doing major repairs. The Mennonite Church turned the housing program over to a local board and it became an independent, non-profit corporation known as Christian Out Reach to Appalachian People (COAP)in January 1984.
COAP historically has built new homes and done major home repairs with the mission of providing safe, dry and affordable housing in Bell, Harlan and Leslie Counties in Eastern Kentucky. We have a staff of carpenters and use up to 1200 volunteers who spend a week at COAP working at building and repairing homes for low income people. COAP provides homeownership counseling for our clients who are mostly first time homeowners. We have a revolving fund that allows low income people to borrow money at a low rate and pay back the money. This provides them the dignity of being able afford repairs and be able tell their neighbors that they are paying for the work being done.
COAP completed its two hundredth new house in 2009. COAP?s success has been made possible though the technical assistance and financial support of organizations such as KHC, FAHE and USDA Rural Development. One of greatest challenges in our area is to find good housing sites at affordable prices.