Our Founders

The history of Amikas and

Our Founders

In 2009, founders Jeeni Criscenzo, Michael Copass, Juan Del Rio, and a group of like-minded advocates, pursued critical alternative housing options for women and children, focusing first on female veterans, and then non-veterans.

Jeeni at an event

Jeeni Criscenzo

Michael at Horton Plaza

Michael Copass

Juan wearing his hat

Juan Del Rio

In the past, we served our community through a program intended to increase available housing and decrease the cost for women and children. Amikas hosted a group housing program. For three years, from 2011 – 2014, we rented properties with two bedrooms, and up to six bedrooms, and subleased to women who were homeless or in danger of homelessness due to very low income. Amikas subsidized rent through donations and advocated to help our residents get back on their feet and find the resources they needed. The program had a great impact, housing forty-two (42) residents over a three-year period, but the lack of funding and other difficulties caused us to release the units we rented and close the program.

Despite our frustration, the Amikas board of directors continued to look for ways to help the community increase available bridge housing in a way that would meet the needs of our most vulnerable population. On the outskirts of the “tiny home” movement, we noticed cabin villages popping up in Seattle, Portland, and California in San Jose and Yuba counties. We found a model cabin that is structurally sound, safe, insulated, inexpensive, and easy to build using groups of volunteers with nothing more than screw guns and a little guidance.

We can all do better by our unsheltered neighbors. In fact, we must. Help us help someone in need. Donate or volunteer today!

Contact us

P.O. Box 5483
San Diego, CA 92165

(619) 512-3110