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New Home Before the Holidays






New Home Before the Holidays



Posted on November 30, 2020


Today, Candie Gallardo, a passionate 27-year-old single mother, strolls around her nearly completed self-help home with pure admiration. “This is where I plan to put the TV and this is where the couch will go,” Candie points out with assurance. Before embarking on her homeownership journey, Candie had no construction experience but has learned a tremendous amount through this process. “Some things were not as difficult as I thought, like the wiring. If I ever wanted to swap the current light for a chandelier or change the style of light switches, I know I can easily do that in the future.”

She and her 5-year-old son currently live with her parents and siblings, part of a household of nine people living together in an overcrowded home. “My parents are a huge support system for me. They would rather live three families in one home instead of ever kicking anyone out. We are here for each other. Nevertheless, I made it my goal to get a place of my own. I want to give my son that space and privacy.”

Candie is part of the first group cohort in Patterson to participate in Self-Help Enterprises’ (SHE) Mutual Self-Help Housing program. In total, SHE is planning 118 single-family detached homes, with 3- and 4-bedroom options. Patterson is a rural town on the west side of the San Joaquin Valley with a population of about 22,000. In recent years, Patterson has grown as a bedroom community for east Bay Area commuters, leaving many local families behind.  “I know many people who can’t afford to even rent in this area. I have a friend who had to move to Modesto and commutes here,” says Candie. The median sales price for a home in Patterson is approximately $382,000, with minimum monthly mortgage payments over $1,800, which means a family needs to earn nearly $73,000 annually to afford a home. Renters need to earn nearly twice the state minimum wage in order to afford the average asking rents in Patterson.

Candie first reached out to SHE in 2017 after her father encouraged her to apply for the self-help program. She was put on a waitlist for Patterson for two years before the project began. “I worked with Juanita in the Gateway counseling program, who said I was the ideal candidate. I had little debt and had my finances in order. I was able to take all of the homeownership classes online, which made it very convenient.”

If all goes well, Candie and her son should be all moved in before Christmas. “This is an accomplishment for me. I am giving my son what my parents gave to me. I am so excited to start decorating and really make it my own.” Candie currently works at the local grocery store and after moving into her new home, she looks forward to a promotion from her current position.

Through the Mutual Self-Help Program, eight to twelve families are grouped together and agree to help each other build their houses with skilled onsite supervision and guidance of Self-Help Enterprises construction staff. The homes are built under the mutual self-help method of construction where each family is required to contribute a minimum of 40 hours a week working on all the homes for a period of 9 to 12 months. Family hours can be provided by the owners-to-be, any household member 16 years of age or older and approved helpers. Together, families pour foundations, frame homes, install electrical wiring, hang doors and windows and even lay tile and paint.

These labor hours, or “sweat equity,” are used as the down payment on their new home, reducing costs for a new home they could otherwise not afford. For more information about the Mutual Self-Help Housing Program, call us at (559) 651-1000).