Where There is a Will, There is a Way
Where there is a will, there is a way: A saying to live by for Salvador Moreno, a participant of the Mutual Self-Help Housing Program. For many, building a home is challenging enough. For Salvador, building his home during a global health pandemic while working full-time graveyard shifts was excruciating.

Salvador works in maintenance at the University of Merced, alongside his father. During the last 15 months, he spent his days building his home and spent the nights working at the school, leaving only 3 hours for sleep daily. Luckily, he had the support of his dad, mom and younger brother who all helped him complete his required 40 hours a week.

“The hardest thing for me was waking up all tired and going from working at the University to working on my house. But I learned a lot and was excited to finally get my keys.”

Salvador is one of 10 families who recently finished building their home in Planada. This is the 23rd group of families to build in this area, with the 24th group already in progress. Planada is a census-designated place in Merced County, located nine miles east of the City of Merced with total population fast approaching 5,000. The area is near Yosemite National Park and UC Merced and shows potential for future job growth. The median home price in Planada is about $141,000, while median income is about $35,700. This demonstrates the dire need for more quality affordable housing opportunities. Read more.
Community Water Tour Visits Merced and Kern Counties
SHE's Community Development team officially kicked off their five-part virtual water tour series via SHE's Facebook Live platform, where they dive deep into the many challenges facing residents of San Joaquin Valley rural communities in their work to access safe, affordable drinking water. The team is interviewing extraordinary community leaders as they share how they overcame these hardships and brought sustainable water solutions to their communities. The first session took place in the community of Fuller Acres (Kern County) where SHE staff sat with Mr. Everett McGhee. He shared that his community needs support to cover operations costs to maintain their water system free of contamination. The second session took place in the community of El Nido in Merced County where SHE staff sat with Ms. Rosa Inguanzo who talked about the importance of having residents actively involved and educated in the topic of water accessibility.

There are three more sessions left in the virtual water tour (July 1st, 8th and 15th) The series will continue to educate the public on rural communities’ daily fight to access safe, affordable and reliable drinking water. For questions, email Manuel Leon at manuell@selfhelpenterprises.org. Click here to see Facebook event.
Architecture at Zero Competition
This month the American Institute of Architects, California (AIACA) announced the launch of its tenth annual Architecture at Zero competition focused on decarbonization, equity and resilience in building design. The annual competition is open for entries from students and professionals worldwide. This year, AIACA partnered with SHE to develop a design challenge to create affordable housing for farmworkers in California’s Central Valley. Up to $25,000 in prize money is awarded by a jury of international experts.

The competition strives to generate new, innovative decarbonization building design ideas that respond to equity and resilience and help achieve California’s ambitious energy goals.
“SHE is delighted to participate in the 2021-22 Architecture at Zero competition and receive fresh ideas, thoughts and concepts that can be applied in Visalia and the surrounding San Joaquin Valley,” said Betsy McGovern-Garcia, Program Director of Real Estate Development. “There continues to be a huge demand for housing for farmworkers, and this is a unique opportunity to integrate decarbonization and climate resiliency through an equity lens.”

Competition entries will be juried by international experts including: Paul Torcellini, Principal Engineer, National Renewable Energy Laboratory; Allison Williams, FAIA; AGWms_studio; Lance Collins, AIA, Director at Partner Energy; and Mary Ann Lazarus, FAIA, Cameron MacAllister Group. To learn more, visit www.architectureatzero.com. See past winning projects here.
Video of Integrated Regional Water Management Water Tours
SHE's Community Engagement and Planning team has developed water tour videos in English and with Spanish subtitles. The educational videos follow the path of water in California’s Central San Joaquin Valley from the snowpack down to communities. They also inform about integrated water management, including water sources, uses, users, movement of water and challenges as well as how the Integrated Regional Water Management (IRWM) Program works, examples of successful projects and how they play a role to solve regional issues and advance resiliency. Click here to learn more about the Integrated Regional Water Management Program.
Exciting Resident Services Updates
HIRING AN AFTER SCHOOL COORDINATOR. Our partner and rental property management company, AWI, is hiring an After School Coordinator. The ideal candidate must have at least six months of experience working with groups of 15 or more students in a structured learning environment, knowledge of basic math and English, and be computer literate.
For full job description or to apply contact Kari Ludvickson: karil@selfhelpenterprises.org or (559) 802-1617.
DIGITAL LITERACY CLASSES IN FULL SWING. SHE's Resident Services team has held over 50 digital literacy (in person and online) classes throughout our rental communities in Tulare, Madera, Fresno, and Kern counties. The program addresses the digital literacy and internet access gap present in low-income communities. For more information, contact Nereyda Duarte at nereydad@selfhelpenterprises.org.
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