Nonprofit in escrow on Pismo Beach property, dropping church bid

October 2, 2019


Peoples’ Self-Help Housing is in escrow to purchase a property on North 4th Street in Pismo Beach where they plan to temporary house homeless young adults and to provide low-cost housing. The nonprofit has backed out of its controversial escrow to purchase the Bethel Baptist Church in Grover Beach.

Working under an agreement with the 5 Cities Homeless Coalition, Peoples’ Self-Help Housing recently entered an escrow to purchase a 1.2 acre lot at 855 4th Street in Pismo Beach for $2.9 million. Last month, the homeless coalition purchased a 3,855 square foot building at 100 4th Street in Grover Beach for $875,000, to use as their office space. The coalition is still searching for a property to use as a warming center.

The nonprofits are planning to build 50 units of affordable or temporary housing on the property located near the Pismo Beach Premium Outlets. At a city council meeting on Sept. 17, Pismo Beach City Manager Jim Lewis voiced his support for the project.

“We really believe this is a great site,” Lewis said. “It’s adjacent to transportation, groceries, the freeway. There aren’t surrounding neighborhoods adjacent…really it provides an opportunity for people.”

For 10 years, the homeless coalition has attempted to secure property for offices, a warming center, homeless youth housing, and low-cost housing. Then in April, the San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors voted to approve $2.6 million in grant funds for the purchase of the Bethel Baptist Church in Grover Beach.

However, members of the congregation accused those attempting to convert the church into a homeless facility, as supporting the theft of their church.

Bethel Baptist Church’s current pastor John Fleming, the church board, and its members are fighting the Christian & Missionary Alliance (C&MA) over ownership of the 57-year-old church and a 3.1-acre lot valued at $2.9 million.

Representatives of the C&MA claim they legally transferred ownership of the church to their nonprofit, which then decided to close the church and sell the almost $3 million property to the Five Cities Homeless Coalition, with C&MA planning to keep the proceeds.

After learning of the C&MA’s contract to sell the church property to the 5 Cities Homeless Coalition, church elder John Fleming filed state documents showing Bethel Bapist Church owned the property, changed the locks and began holding Sunday services.

Residents of both Grover Beach and Arroyo Grande have voiced opposition to the homeless coalition and several public officials including Supervisor Adam Hill and Grover Beach Councilwoman Mariam Shah, whom they accuse of supporting an attempt to steal the church.


Isn’t CMA associated with a church in Paso Robles or Templeton? Can someone explain the philosophy of CMA and the Paso/Templeton church? Are they cult-like?


Members of Bethel Baptist Church needs to encourage the IRS to crawl up the ass of the Christian Missionary Alliance (CMA.)

It seems like all the CMA did was try to swindle the congregation of the Bethel Baptist Church out of their property.

Their non-for-profit status needs to be revoked.

Jorge Estrada

Non-profits pay salaries and do you know what the law requires of their vast donations? How much must go towards their mission? 5%? Well let’s say after the salaries there is still enough to buy real estate. Too often I hear people wanting to starting a non-profit, certainly for questionable reasons. It certainly is time for a serious review of the non-profit standards.


5CHC has lost all credibility in my book. To all those who claimed 5CHC was somehow locked into the escrow and that’s why they couldn’t walk away from the deal—now we ALL know that’s not true, they just managed to back out. CMA wasn’t able to perform in a timely manner due to the clouded title on the property, that was always a legit reason to walk away.


Isn’t this the building and lot that Janna Nichols of 5CHC said just a few months ago had been looked at and would not work for their needs?


This is good news! Now the Christian and Missionary Alliance needs to look to God for guidance and see that as an organization they are nothing at all about the teachings of Jesus and all about financial gain.


….(add) Christian Missionary Alliance (CMA) made SURE Hillside became a flailing church then tried to sell it without even asking their many members from what I gather.