Milestone on a Road to Success

Milestone on a Road to Success

Posted on February 9, 2015

While framing walls, installing windows and painting trim, Edith Arreguis would picture herself and her son, Leixander, enjoying their new home in Goshen, California, a small unincorporated community of 3,000 in Tulare County in the San Joaquin Valley. Because options for safe, decent, and affordable housing are limited in Goshen, Edith turned to Self-Help Enterprises and its Build Your Own Home program to help her give a better life to her son. Self-Help Enterprises provided construction supervision and financial counseling to support Edith and nine other families as they built their own homes.

Edith’s search for suitable housing for her son was a challenge. The waiting list was long for government subsidized housing. The cost of a mortgage on a house in a safe neighborhood was out of the question. So Edith and Leixander lived in a small room in an apartment shared with Edith’s mom, stepdad, and three siblings.

The dream of providing a better life for her son carried Edith through the hard work required to build a home. Despite the struggles of being a single mother, Edith contributed over 1,300 hours to help build her home and the homes of nine other families in the program. “Sometimes I would be [working on the house] from 7 am to 11 pm and then I’d run home and shower and get to my job. I wouldn’t see my baby until ten at night. It was hard, but worth it.”

For Edith, finishing and moving into her house was more of a milestone on her journey than an end goal in and of itself. She was eager to get settled because it meant there would be time again to pursue her education. Her goal: to become a surgical nurse.

Building her own house allows Edith to provide a secure home for her son, and continue toward her career goals. “If I’d get a normal house, I wouldn’t be able to go to school because it would be too expensive,” she reflects. “There are a lot of people like me who can’t afford going to school, having a job, and paying their mortgage.” By building her own home under Self-Help Enterprises’ program, Edith was able to use her sweat equity as a down payment and save 10 percent on her mortgage loan. This translates into $100 less in bills each month that she can use to save for her son’s education or for a rainy day.

With these ambitious goals, Edith is well on the way to fulfilling her dream of providing a good life for her son. “I will never regret this opportunity,” she says.

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