A safer and cooler home for the Serna family in Dinuba

A safer and cooler home for the Serna family in Dinuba

Posted on July 31, 2023

This summer, the Serna family can finally feel safe and enjoy their home after its reconstruction!    

Juanita and Homero Serna first bought their home in 1972. They then went on to raise their four children in the house, including Esmeralda Serna, who shared what this experience was like for her parents, who are now 70 and 80, respectively.   

“They are so happy to be home,” said Esmeralda. “Now that it’s safer and there’s working air conditioning, they are more active. They are cooking more now that the house doesn’t heat up so much and even want to clean more often to keep the house looking new.”  

The family had endured years of their home’s deteriorating condition, including an unstable foundation and faulty stairs. A lack of air-conditioning also turned their home into a dangerous living space during the summer months. Esmeralda’s son also lived with her parents, but the state of the house and his paralysis made it harder for them to spend time together. This is why when Esmeralda first heard of the City of Dinuba’s Housing Rehabilitation Program, she immediately went to her parents with an application. “They were very hesitant at first,” said Esmeralda. “Although it desperately needed repairs, it was still their home, and they felt nervous about changing it.” Esmeralda finally convinced her parents and helped them apply. “They wanted to give up, but I insisted that this was for their safety, and it was important to keep going.”    

Once it was determined that the house would need to be reconstructed, the four siblings made sure they conserved pieces of the original home as part of their family’s history. “Each of us took something from the home we grew up in as a keepsake, including parts of the staircase,” said Esmeralda.   

Now that the home has been reconstructed, Esmeralda feels better because her parents finally have a walk-in shower that they can use. The rest of the house is also now wheelchair accessible for the safety of her son and parents. Juanita and Homero have also been spending more time enjoying their living room. Before, they had small single air conditioners installed in every room with a window to withstand the warm temperatures. Their living room was often one of the warmest parts of the house besides the kitchen and they couldn’t stay there as much as they wanted to. “My dad now loves being in his new living room,” said Esmeralda. The family also looks forward to spending more time together! 

Many homes like that of the Serna family hold cherished memories but, over time, become unsafe to continue living in. SHE has partnered with cities and counties in the San Joaquin Valley to continue helping families make essential health and safety repairs. Learn more

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