It never occurs to most people who drive down Colfax Avenue that the dilapidated motels they pass on the street are home to hundreds of young children and their families. The commonly held idea is that most of the residents of these motels are prostitutes, drug addicts, and criminals. While there are many people who fit that description living in residential motels, there are also babies being born there, children growing up there, parents working minimum wage jobs to support their families, grandparents providing childcare and neighbors helping neighbors. It is a diverse community just as all communities are, but there are two characteristics the entire community shares: poverty and isolation.
Colfax Community Network founder Maggie Tidwell became familiar with the motel community while working at Project PAVE providing “Strengthening Families” workshops at the request of school social workers. After becoming more involved over a three year period (1995-1998), it was decided that a multi-faceted, comprehensive, grassroots approach would best serve the many needs of this transient community. In January 1999, a board of directors was convened, the foundation for the organization was laid, and in late April 1999 the CCN became a 501(c)3 private, nonprofit organization.