Congressman Valadao, USDA RD State Director Tour Wasco Subdivision

Congressman Valadao, USDA RD State Director Tour Wasco Subdivision

Posted on March 29, 2018

Congressman David Valadao (CA-21) joined with USDA Rural Development State Director, Kim Dolbow Vann, and Self-Help Enterprises President and CEO, Tom Collishaw to tour the Self-Help Enterprises subdivision in Wasco on March 28.

With support from Congress, ongoing partnerships between USDA and Self-Help Enterprises continue to create affordable housing and homeownership opportunities for hundreds of low-income families.

Congressman David G. Valadao stated, “Home ownership has always been a defining aspect of the American Dream. Unfortunately, this goal is becoming increasingly unattainable for many Americans, especially those in California’s Central Valley. As a member of the House Appropriations Committee, ensuring programs like Self-Help Enterprises’ receives the federal funding they need to help families access affordable housing is incredibly important to me. Working together we can work to make sure every family has a roof over their head.”

“USDA’s programs help make the American dream of homeownership affordable in our rural communities, but we can’t do it alone,” said Kim Dolbow Vann, USDA Rural Development California State Director. “With committed partners, like those here today, we can create an avenue to homeownership that not only comes with the pride of building a home, but a neighborhood, too.”

“We appreciate having Congressman Valadao’s ongoing support for the mutual self-help housing program,” said Tom Collishaw, President and CEO of Self-Help Enterprises. “This program creates homeownership opportunities for low-income families who work hard to build a foundation for a better future and improve their lives. Continued funding of this important program helps build healthy homes and communities where families have opportunities to thrive.”

Congressman David G. Valadao, Self-Help Enterprises President and CEO Tom Collishaw, and USDA Rural Development State Director, Kim Dolbow Vann meet with families building their own homes in Wasco.

Coordination between Congress, federal agencies, and local organizations can responsibly and effectively improve communities. With funding appropriated by Congress for programs such as USDA Rural Development, Self-Help Enterprises works together with low-income families to build and sustain healthy homes and communities through the self-help housing program.

Through his position on the House Appropriations Committee, Congressman Valadao works to ensure the critical grant and funding programs Self-Help Enterprises relies on receive adequate funding. Since coming to Congress in 2013, Congressman Valadao has successfully advocated on behalf of increased funding for all five USDA RD programs utilized by Self-Help Enterprises, securing $8.75 billion in federal funding over the last six years.

Ten families are currently in the final stages of building their own homes in the Wasco subdivision and are expected to move-in in April. Ten additional families will soon join them as they are currently in beginning stages of construction on their self-help homes. Over a twelve-month period, the groups of families work together on nearly every aspect of the homes – from pouring foundations to framing homes – with direction from a skilled onsite construction supervisor. Each homeowner contributes a minimum of forty hours per week (over sixty five percent of the construction labor) toward completion of all homes in the group. These labor hours, or “sweat equity”, are used as the down payment on their new home, resulting in affordable monthly payments. The families receive their keys and move into their homes once all homes in the group are completed. The completion of the twenty homes will bring a total of 133 homes to Wasco since the first self-help houses were constructed in 1971.

See photos of the tour here.

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