In December 2022, Kings Community Action Organization’s Kelly Stone received the 2022 Most Innovative Prevention Program Award! 


Kings Community Action Organization (KCAO) operation, Project Room Key, is a project through the Kings County Human Service Agency that serves those experiencing street homelessness to provide a safe space to reside while receiving meals, case management and housing navigation services through partnering agencies. KCAO Housing Program Manager, Kelly Stone, was recognized and awarded the 2022 Most Innovative Prevention Program Award for her leadership in Project Room Key. 


Kelly Stone began at KCAO as an intern in January of 2016, and transitioned into her career in April 2016. Her main job responsibility is overseeing KCAO’s housing programs. These programs include three permanent supportive housing projects for long term housing, rapid rehousing, which provides short term rental assistance, three additional condominiums, as well as managing the Sunrise Apartments and Holiday Lodge, which serve as Project Room Key locations. 


In operation since 2020, Stone led Project Room Key by taking over property management at the Sunrise location in March 2021, and the Holiday Lodge in September 2022. They are currently serving 48 individuals at the Holiday Lodge. 


Project Room Key has come with many successes– family reunification, financial stability, overall sense of accomplishment. Stone tells of one success story:


“A Senior Citizen/Veteran moved into Sunrise December 2021. While residing at Sunrise, he had a safe place to temporarily live while also receiving three hot meals a day. This tenant lived a harsh life on the streets for many years and trusted very few people, he gained positive relationships at Sunrise with neighbors as well as Sunrise Staff. Sunrise Staff assisted this Veteran with reconnecting with his adult daughter that he hadn’t seen since she was 6 months old. On July 7, 2022 this tenant boarded a bus with the income he was able to save while residing at Sunrise and he arrived in Florida the morning of July 12, 2022. His daughter called me expressing her gratitude and to let me know that her father made it safely.”


While this project has seen numerous successes, it was not without struggle. “Some of the struggles I have faced while managing Sunrise Apartments and Holiday Lodge have been helping motivate some clients that reside at these locations to complete simple tasks when they first arrive,” Stone says. However, programs like Project Room Key provide a sense of community and support to clients being served. “In time, they learn necessary independent living skills by observing me, on-site staff and/or other clients while completing daily duties. As well as being hands-on with each client individually, getting to know them, their history and teaching each person necessary skills they can take with them when they move on to permanent housing.”


CalCAPA Executive Director, David Knight, shares, “Families who are stuck in their lives usually either lack a sense of direction, or have ideas but find themselves without vital energy to pursue them. KCAO’s innovative approach to ensure safe housing first and then additionally adding the ability for individuals to begin relationships with others allows space for people to respond to their struggles and eventually build themselves. This is directly derived from their knowledge of the people they serve.”


Project Room Key will continue to grow its partnerships and collaborate with other agencies to continue assisting clients with meeting their goals. 


“Our Kings Community Action Housing Team is a small team, but we are mighty and as long as Project Room Key is still running and Human Service Agency allows us the opportunity to assist with this project, we will be here… providing property management, overseeing maintenance, housekeeping and, most importantly, providing support and guidance to those that reside at Project Room Key locations here in Kings County.”


It’s with the work of our dedicated California Community Action Agency staff that Community Action continues to thrive throughout our state, and vulnerable communities supported and empowered to become self-sufficient. “Every day is different, some days more difficult than others, but regardless I absolutely love my job, love my department ‘Intervention Prevention & Supportive Services’ and love being a part of Kings Community Action Organization. Together we do amazing things!”


CalCAPA is humbled to work with Community Action Agencies like KCAO and leaders like Kelly Stone who give of their energy to ensure the success of our communities. Congratulations on receiving the 2022 Most Innovative Prevention Program Award, Kelly, and thank you for your leadership in Kings County!


To learn about the Community Action work being done in your community, find your local agency here



Kelly Stone being awarded with the 2022 Most Innovative Prevention Program Award, being supported by
Kings Community Action Organization team members.