Parlier Councilmember Shares the History of her Self-Help Home

Parlier Councilmember Shares the History of her Self-Help Home

Posted on April 3, 2023

Homeownership serves to help families build wealth for future generations and to contribute to the advancement of their community. This holds true for Juanita Molina, Parlier City Councilmember, who, along with her husband Lolo Molina, still live in the home they built together in 1975 via SHE’s Mutual Self-Housing Program. The couple was first motivated to join the program after helping Juanita’s parents participate and build their own home in 1972.   

Before participating in the program, the couple lived in a small one-bedroom apartment with their three children. Determined to also become homeowners, the Molinas decided to move forward with the construction of their own home. “We always said, ‘why are we paying someone else to pay their home, if we qualify to buy our own home.’” The lot of their future home would be right around the corner from that of her parents. They would then help watch over the grandchildren while the Molinas worked to build their home.  

For the couple, the physical labor hours, or “sweat equity,” put into the construction of their home was also a big part of the joy associated with becoming first-time homeowners. “It’s a whole different experience. We put in the tile, picked the colors; we did everything. If there was anything slightly crooked, we could take it out then and there,” shared Molina. “Our neighbors came over to help us put up our very first wall! It’s an experience that not many homeowners get to experience, and we’re very thankful for it.”  

Once they finished construction and moved in, one of the first things they did was plant a small palm tree in their front yard. Almost 50 years later, that small addition is now a large palm tree that soars over the entire neighborhood and has become a focal point for the family to feel connected to their home’s history.   

The home her parents built remains a part of the family as well. After her parents passed away, it was transferred to the now-grown grandkids, who plan on maintaining the home as a part of their grandparents’ legacy. “My children are very proud of that being grandma and grandpa’s house,” said Molina. “They know that they worked really hard to build that home.” After other of her parent’s original neighbors have passed, their grandchildren have also moved into those remaining homes. “We saw some of them grow up with their grandparents, just like my kids. Our neighbors are still our neighbors.”  

For Juanita, building her home helped form a powerful bond with her neighborhood and the greater community of Parlier. She worked in early childhood education, and her husband worked for the public works department. “Parlier has grown, but we are all still connected. I felt I could run for city council and bring something more to the table”.   

Juanita now serves as City Councilmember for the 2nd district of Parlier and can help make decisions that help improve her city. “I would love for more self-help homes to be built in our city so that our citizens can afford to have a roof over their heads without constantly worrying about not being able to pay for it,” said Molina. “There’s value in being able to say, ‘that’s my home.’ The construction of our home is a core memory for my children. That’s a part of our legacy.”  

Through the Mutual Self-Help Housing program, SHE continues to lead efforts to ensure that the dream of homeownership is possible and sustainable. Juanita and her family not only built a home for themselves but also for their future. Both homes will remain in the family for future generations to enjoy. Juanita holds a similar point of view regarding her position in the city council. “There are so many citizens in our town that have the potential to do great things as leaders in the community. The day I decide not to run again, I hope the next person to fill these shoes keeps moving forward!” 

Learn more about the Mutual Self-Help Housing program

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