Families Celebrate Becoming Homeowners

Families Celebrate Becoming Homeowners

Posted on May 10, 2018

After twelve months of construction and hard work, ten families came together to celebrate the completion of their new homes in the rural Kern County community of Wasco.

Among the group is Edgar and Isabel Cedillo who achieved what for many families is a lifetime goal – owning their own home. The Cedillos previously rented a room in Bakersfield from Edgar’s parents and today are proud homeowners of a four-bedroom home. “This program gave us the opportunity to have our own home and now we get to start our family”, said Isabel.

As part of the Mutual Self-Help Housing program, the families worked together on nearly every aspect of the homes – from pouring foundations to framing walls – with direction from an onsite construction supervisor. Each homeowner contributes a minimum of forty hours per week (over sixty-five percent of the construction labor) constructing their own homes and those of their neighbors. These labor hours, known as “sweat equity”, are used as the down payment on their new home, resulting in affordable monthly payments with assistance from low-interest mortgage financing through the U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development.

During the construction phase, participants learned a variety of construction skills. “The process was rewarding, but we had to overcome some challenges”, said Isabel. “I’ve never done construction work. Now, I know how to work on electrical.” Edgar shared, “My wife and I also had to balance building with our full-time jobs, but we did it and accomplished something incredible.”

The energy-efficient three- and four-bedroom homes range from 1,210 to 1,361 square feet and feature two baths, covered patios, and two-car garages.

Self-Help Enterprises is committed to creating affordable housing and homeownership opportunities, which help address the shortage of much-needed affordable housing in Kern County. This recent group of families is the second of three groups in the Wasco subdivision located on Ventura Court and Solano Street. The completion of the ten homes brings a total of 123 homes to Wasco since the first self-help houses were constructed in 1971. The first ten families completed and occupied their homes in November 2017 and the final group is expected to be completed later this year.

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