The Castellanos Family Enjoys Their Newly Reconstructed Home

The Castellanos Family Enjoys Their Newly Reconstructed Home

The Castellanos Family stands proudly in front of their new driveway with contractor, Tony Gonzalez

Posted on July 1, 2022

This summer, Argelia Castellanos is happy to walk through her recently reconstructed home without having to flinch at the sight of pests or dwell on the cracks on her ceiling. On May 27th, 2022, Argelia and her husband, Gerardo, received the keys to their new home, which was completely reconstructed via the City of Woodlake’s Housing Rehabilitation Program. 

“Estamos tan felices,” remarked Argelia. “Nunca en mis 60 años me imaginé tener una casa nueva. ¡Todo está brillante y huele a nuevo!” (“We are so happy. Never in my 60 years did I imagine having a brand-new home. Everything is shiny and smells like new!”)

The Castellanos family endured many challenges to reach this milestone.   

They moved back to Woodlake from Stockton 26 years ago, pursuing a calmer and safer environment to raise their children. They rented for many years before purchasing their home in 2010. 

The couple worked through various strenuous jobs, many times over 12 hours shifts. Argelia packaged fruit jars, tomato boxes, and sorted egg cartons in different factories. Gerardo harvested watermelons while enduring the field’s harsh environment. Although these were grueling jobs, they helped put food on the table and ensured their family would have a roof over their heads. This roof, however, was one of many troubling signs of their home’s deterioration. There were various cracks in the roof, pest damage, faulty windows, and structural faults throughout their home.   

“Vivimos una vida humilde e hicimos lo que pudimos, pero fue un verdadero milagro que la casa no se derrumbara sobre nosotros, ” reflected Argelia. (“We lived a humble life and did what we could, but it was truly a miracle that the home did not collapse on us.”)  

Cost estimates for home repairs were unfeasible. The family endured the summer heat with various fans around the house. Because they could not afford to fumigate their home, they utilized multiple cans of Raid and small mouse traps.  

The state of their home became increasingly hazardous as the years of harsh working conditions began to take a toll on their health. Gerardo retired after going through open heart surgery, and Argelia now suffers from arthritis. Argelia had heard about the various projects SHE had completed in the Woodlake area and sought help for home repairs.  

Because the home’s deterioration was so extensive, a full reconstruction was required. Improvements also included energy-efficient solar panels, heating/cooling, and even a facelift to their yard. Tony Gonzalez, of Speedy Gonzalez Construction, donated the synthetic turf used for the new yard; transforming it into a drought-conscious green space for the family to enjoy. One of Argelia’s favorite improvements is also her bedroom as it is now much larger and does not have to be walked through to access the bathroom. More importantly, their home is now both safe and functional.  

“Es increíble que organizaciones como SHE existan para ayudar a familias de bajos ingresos, como nosotros, a vivir en hogares seguros como en la casa en la que vivimos hoy,” remarked Argelia. (“It’s incredible that organizations like SHE exist to help low-income families, like us, live in safe homes like in the house we are living in today.”)  

As Argelia reflects on their journey, she also wants to encourage other families who are struggling to get informed about available programs like the kind SHE offers. 

Through partnerships with cities and counties in the San Joaquin Valley, Self-Help Enterprises’ Rehabilitation Program works with local community leaders to identify housing needs, secure funding, and successfully implement housing repairs for residents. 

To learn more about the Rehabilitation Program’s active project areas and funding availability, head over to our program’s page or call us at 559.651.1000. 

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