“Un nuevo comienzo, a new beginning,” Evelyn Ramos responded when asked what her new home represented for her. “If you qualify, you should go through the program! It was a nice experience and a true blessing for us.” Previously living in Madera, the Ramos Family is eager to finally move into their new home located only a few miles away from their old apartment.
On June 21, 2019, Self-Help Enterprises and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development gathered to celebrate National Homeownership Month and honor 10 families who have completed building each other’s homes.
The homes were all built under SHE’s Mutual Self-Help Housing program where a group of eight to twelve families work together help each other build their houses with skilled onsite supervision and guidance of Self-Help Enterprises construction staff. Each family is required to contribute a minimum of 40 hours a week working on all the homes for a period of 9 to 12 months. These labor hours are known as sweat equity, and are used as the down payment on their new home, therefore reducing costs for a new home they could otherwise not afford. Self-Help Enterprises also assists each applicant with securing the loans needed to build their home. Special financing from the USDA and the State of California make these homes affordable.
“This is a day to celebrate homeownership, the bedrock of every strong community,” said Tom Collishaw, President and CEO of Self-Help Enterprises. “These ten families represent the final hardworking homebuilders in the second phase of our Parksdale development. We’re proud to be associated with these great people.” SHE is the pioneer and leading provider of mutual self-help housing in the United States and their efforts today encompass a range of programs to build better homes and communities for low-income families.
USDA Rural Development has provided approximately $1.3 million in home loans to the families in this development. “After nearly a year of sweat, blood and tears, the sacrifices and commitment of these ten families are paying off with keys to their brand-new homes,” said Kim Dolbow Vann, USDA Rural Development State Director. “There may not be a more appropriate time than National Homeownership Month to highlight these families, this program, and the dedication of our steadfast partner, Self-Help Enterprises, for creating homeownership opportunities across the San Joaquin Valley.”
USDA Rural Development provides loans and grants to help expand economic opportunities and create jobs in rural areas. In addition to homeownership, this assistance supports infrastructure improvements; business development; community services such as schools, public safety and healthcare; and high-speed internet access in rural areas. For more information, visit www.rd.usda.gov/ca.