Repairing Homes, Re-building Lives

Repairing Homes, Re-building Lives

Posted on July 20, 2015

Because large portions of the affordable housing available to low-income people in the San Joaquin Valley are older homes, Self-Help Enterprises operates a rehabilitation program to preserve and improve this existing stock of housing. One family who has benefited from this program is Salvador and Rita Rodriguez who reside in the small, rural community of Woodlake, CA.

Mr. and Mrs. Rodriguez, both 70 years old, are retired homeowners who live on a fixed income in a home built in 1935. Unable to keep up with the maintenance of their 1,751 square-foot home due to a lack of funds and physical limitations to perform maintenance tasks, they found themselves living in an unsafe and unhealthy home. Roof shingles were cracked and leaking throughout the home. The exterior siding was cracked and suffered from dry rot damage. During the cold San Joaquin Valley winters when temperatures can fall below the freezing mark, they were unable to warm their home due to cracks in walls and a lack of wall insulation. Similarly, during the scorching summer months with temperatures above 100 degrees, the home is unable to trap the cool air from the window-mounted A/C units.

The 80-year-old home also had an electrical system with open splices and exposed wiring – hazards that could lead to electric shock or a fire; old, rusted, and leaking plumbing lines; a broken water line; old and rusted gas lines; loose vinyl tile flooring caused from water penetration; broken windows that did not open; cracked doors that would stick; and badly worn carpet.

Cracks on the exterior of the home.
Crack along a wall in the interior of the home.






The Rodriguez family qualified for a NeighborWorks® America Safe and Sound Grant and zero percent interest, deferred payment CalHome and Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) loans through Self-Help Enterprises’ partnership with Woodlake to renovate their home. Renovations and repairs included re-wiring the entire house, replacing all the plumbing lines, re-framing most of the interior walls, installing a new central AC/heating unit to replace all window-mounted AC units, painting the interior and exterior of the home, installing new carpeting, flooring, light fixtures, plumbing fixtures and windows, and replacing cabinets that had dry rot and water damage.

In addition, Mr. Rodriguez was to undergo surgery in the months following the completion of the rehabilitation of their home. To aid in his recovery and prepare for the future, a wheelchair accessible shower was installed in one of the two bathrooms. The second bathroom was remodeled and brought up to California Green Building Code requirements along with the rest of the home. This also included placing smoke detectors in all bedrooms and the hallway.

In a three-month time period, the Rodriguez home underwent a major rehabilitation to complete the much-needed housing repairs – not only was a home re-built, but also the lives of Mr. and Mrs. Rodriguez. Mrs. Rodriguez often worried about living in the unsafe conditions of their home. Now, their dream for a new, safe, and healthy home has come true.

All the cracks from the walls have been repaired.
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA The kitchen and cabinets after critical repairs.

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