About Home and Heart

News and Events


Home & Heart began in early 2018, as an internship project of two Masters of Social Work students, aided by professor Sue Steiner, from California State University, Chico. At the time the City of Chico had less than 2% vacancy rate, and older adults were especially vulnerable to the lack of affordable housing options. Many were already facing homelessness or barriers to aging in place including inflated costs of living, lack of affordable caregiving options, and limited fixed incomes. To address these issues, Home & Heart was designed as an intergenerational shared housing program that matched older adults who had an extra bedroom and needed help aging in place, with mature college students seeking affordable housing. Then in November 2018 the Camp Fire tore through Butte County destroying most of Paradise and large portions of the surrounding communities as well. Roughly 50,000 people were displaced in a matter of hours and our community did not have the housing resources to meet the need. Older adults were disproportionately affected in this loss. While we still believe in an intergenerational model of home sharing, the home seeking population with the greatest need has been older adults, many of whom are Camp Fire survivors. Flexing to the needs of the community, Home & Heart is open to all adult home seekers and providers throughout Butte County.


Our mission is to expand affordable housing options, assist older adults to age safely in place, and to decrease social isolation in Butte County by facilitating relationships through home sharing.


Our vision is a world in which every heart has a place to call home.

Meet The Team

Sierra Schmidt

MSW, Program Director & Co-Founder

Sierra has a number of years of experience working with older adults in various settings. She also has experience in program development and evaluation, fundraising, and grant writing.

Heather Fox
MSW, Executive Director

Heather is an experienced grant writer, program developer and project manager having successfully completed proposals for Federally Qualified Health Centers, mental/behavioral health organizations, and a variety of grassroots nonprofit organizations throughout California. 

Caitlyn Patterson
MSW Intern Extraordinaire

Caitlyn is graduating with her MSW in June 2021. She passionate about working with both the homeless population and older adults in our community. She is an advocate for marginalized people and has an affinity for cats!  

Board of Directors

Sue Steiner

Ph.D., MSW, Board Chair & Co-Founder

Sue has more than 30 years’ of community social work experience, including a focus on housing. She has taught community organizing, social welfare policy, program development and program evaluation at Arizona State University and California State University, Chico for almost 30 years.

Ryan Schwab
Board Member

Ryan has over a decade of experience serving non-profit organizations in various capacities. He is currently the Library Technologies Developer at UC Santa Cruz.

Jessica Willman

MSW, Board Treasurer

Jessica is a licensed clinical social worker who has been working with marginalized people in Butte County for eight years. She served for a number of years on the Board of Directors for a local organization working with people experiencing homelessness. 

Kyle Willman

Board Secretary

Kyle is completing his Master’s degree in Public Policy from Chico State. He has spent years doing intensive case management as a Child Welfare Social Worker with a variety of populations. He worked for the Housing Support program within CalWorks Welfare to Work program assisting families in obtaining housing. He currently is currently in the position of Health Assessment, Planning, and Equity Coordinator for the Butte County Department of Public Health.