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July, 2015 - In This Issue

We were honored to recognize Vivian Crisanto who retired after 47 years with Self-Help Enterprises. Vivian, who began her career at Self-Help Enterprises as a secretary right out of high school and went on to become a key staff member in our accounting department, retired in June to spend time with her family and enjoy summer nights at Dodger games. We thank her for the many years of dedication and hard work!

Self-Help Enterprises offers an exciting work environment where you can bring your high caliber skills to a true career opportunity and impact the world around you.

We have openings for Project Techs to support both our drought relief efforts and our partner services programs, including housing rehabilitation, homebuyer, and homeownership counseling.

We are also hiring a paid Intern to support our HomeLIFT homebuyer downpayment assistance program in Bakersfield.


Donations from individuals and partner organizations ensure that our work to assist low-income communities continues. Long-time donors Maria and David Bacigalupo from Visalia began making donations to support Self-Help Enterprises' efforts in 1989. At one time, they also offered their "granny flat" to AmeriCorps VISTA volunteers for affordable rents - including our Community Development Specialist Dave Warner. After David passed away and Maria moved to the Bay Area to be closer to her family, she continued making charitable contributions to our organization. When she passed last year, her heirs kept up the charitable tradition by forgiving the last loan Maria made to us. In total, Maria and David Bacigalupo donated $68,650 to Self-Help Enterprises. We are incredibly grateful to the Bacigalupo family for their dedicated support.


At our Board meeting this month, Valley Business Bank, a partner of Self-Help Enterprises, presented a check for $10,000 to support our drought relief efforts in the San Joaquin Valley. We are very thankful to Valley Business Bank for this generous donation and our ongoing partnership. 


Donations - of all amounts - help fund a range of our programs that build and sustain healthy homes and communities. If you would like to make a contribution to Self-Help Enterprises, visit our donation page. Thank you for your support!  

Pictured from left to right: Veronica Lopez, Valley Business Bank Vice President and Business Banking Officer; Tom Collishaw, CEO of Self-Help Enterprises; and Terry Culotta, Valley Business Bank Vice President and Business Banking Officer.


Most of us enjoy the convenience of using water to cook, drink, and clean, but not all San Joaquin Valley communities enjoy the same. This is especially true in communities like Highland Acres, a community of about 300 people located five miles west of the City of Tulare in Tulare County, where the drought conditions have lowered the groundwater table and caused 14 wells to go dry - with more expected to go dry in the upcoming months.


Currently, seven owner-occupied households have received a 2,500 gallon water tank that connects to their household plumbing system thereby temporarily restoring water. Some residents are also paying a monthly fee to obtain water from their neighbors via a water hose and drip irrigation-type systems.


Without a neighboring community close in proximity, residents in Highland Acres, also known as Okieville due to its Dust Bowl roots and history of migrants from Oklahoma who settled there, are unable to connect to an established water system. Self-Help Enterprises' Community Development department is working with residents and Tulare County to secure funds that will enable the community to establish a public water system. A community meeting, led by Self-Help Enterprises' Community Development Specialist Maria Herrera, was held on July 1 to discuss water source options available to the community for a long-term solution. At the conclusion of the meeting, the community supported the creation of a public water system. This would include drilling two new deep wells and installation of water mains to serve the residents.  


Self-Help Enterprises' next steps are to work with Tulare County to secure grant funding for the long-term solution that will bring clean, reliable water to the families who have been impacted by the drought.



Wells Fargo, NeighborWorks® America, and Self-Help Enterprises have partnered to introduce the HomeLIFT program, which provides eligible homebuyers with $15,000 grants to use toward down payment on qualified homes in the Modesto and Fresno areas.      


To be eligible, homebuyers must meet criteria including completing an eight-hour homebuyer education session. For a family of four in Modesto and Fresno, the income limit is $68,300, at 120% Area Median Income (AMI). Annual income of all persons 18 and older living in the home must be at or below 120% of the AMI guidelines. Federal Housing Administration (FHA) financing, a popular option for HomeLIFT financing, is limited to 115% of the AMI or $65,450 for a family of four.      

The grant can also be applied to a mortgage loan made by an approved lender and can be layered with other mortgage assistance programs.     

Homebuyers may make an appointment online to review eligibility and reserve a grant while funds are available.  


All the HomeLIFT grants for the Bakersfield area have been reserved. However, we recommend homebuyers interested in purchasing a home in Bakersfield check back after September 28, 2015 to see if funds are available.   


Visit our website to learn more about the HomeLIFT program.

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8445 W. Elowin Court, Visalia, CA 93291
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