Posted on December 14, 2016
As the year draws to a close, we take a moment to reflect on the past year and our accomplishments.
This year we witnessed incredible progress toward permanent drought relief. After years without running water, East Porterville residents started connecting to a permanent, sustainable source of water that is returning their home taps to normal and ending hardships brought on by the drought.
By the end of this month, 70 homes will be connected and receive water from the City of Porterville. As many as 1,800 homes in East Porterville, with either no water or undrinkable water in their wells, are expected to be connected to Porterville’s water system by the end of 2017.
While working toward long-term solutions for drought-affected communities, our Community Development staff continued to assist disadvantaged communities affected by groundwater contamination. Residents of Matheny Tract, a rural community of over 350 homes near Tulare where water is contaminated by arsenic and nitrate, celebrated the connection to the City of Tulare water system, bringing clean, reliable drinking water to the community. The Pratt Mutual Water Company, its Board of Directors, the Matheny Tract Committee, and residents worked together with partners including Self-Help Enterprises, Leadership Counsel for Justice & Accountability, and the State Water Resources Control Board to complete this decade old-project.
In our Housing Rehabilitation program, the first manufactured home was installed in Chowchilla (Madera County). These homes, which are all built to state code, replace stick-built and mobile homes that are in need of extensive repair and are no longer safe or healthy.
For Betty Lou Stark, a retired senior, the replacement of her home with a new manufactured home means safety and security. After the passing of her husband, Ms. Stark was unable to keep up with critical home repairs due to her physical limitations and living on a fixed income. Ms. Stark’s mobile home faced extensive repairs including gaps in the windows and doors that let hot air in during the summer and cold air in during the winter, a leaky roof that was caving in, and dry rot. Manufactured housing is an important source of affordable housing and, with proper financing through our program, provides economic security and a new, safe home. Since the launch of the Manufactured Housing program, two mobile homes have been repaired to meet safety codes and two families have received a new manufactured home.
In November, Self-Help Enterprises and the City of Visalia celebrated the ribbon cutting for the Highland Gardens apartment rental community. Highland Gardens, the first rental project in Visalia for Self-Help Enterprises, features 36 two- and three-bedroom apartments as well as a half-court basketball court, playground, community center, solar carports, and community garden where residents can grow fruits and vegetables.
We look forward to continue working together with low-income families to build and sustain healthy homes and communities.