-Tom's Take-
It’s as easy as 1 – 2 – 3 on November 6.

SHE proudly endorses three key initiatives on the ballot this November: Propositions 1, 2, and 3. California is in the midst of its most debilitating housing crisis ever, with rising housing prices and rents, lack of new construction, a surging homeless population, and woeful lack of workforce housing.

Prop 1 – Veterans and Affordable Housing Act – will create $4 billion in bond funding for housing the most vulnerable populations in California, including veterans, farmworkers, and other working families.

Prop 2 - No Place Like Home - will leverage existing state funds to build permanent supportive housing for people with mental health problems, the most challenging segment of our homeless population.

Prop 3 – Water Infrastructure and Watershed Conservation Bond – authorizes $8.9 billion in bonds for needed water infrastructure and storage projects, including a commitment to prioritize assistance to disadvantaged communities.

All three propositions are important to the San Joaquin Valley and SHE’s work in building and sustaining healthy homes and communities. Please don’t sit this one out…..on election day it’s as easy as 1 – 2 – 3!
-Extraordinary Gift Provides New Opportunities-
We have been blessed with a dedicated group of generous individual donors to our various endeavors to build and sustain healthy homes and communities. Every once in a while we add a new donor that stands out. Such is the case with Stan Spano, a legendary builder and residential apartment owner in Fresno. Stan is particularly interested in our asset building activities with low income working families who become homeowners.

With this priority in mind, we are establishing the Spano Fund with Stan’s extraordinary donation of $100,000. We will focus the funding on individuals in the Fresno area who come through our various homeownership programs. The first substantial use of the Spano Fund is expected to make matching grants available to self-help homebuilders in our Annadale Commons project (in southwest Fresno) who must save for the closing costs on their new homes. As with all of our great donors, Stan Spano inspires us to aim higher in the essential work of creating opportunities for families in the Valley.
-Dos Palos Families Receive Keys to Homes-
After almost a year of hard work and dedication, on August 31, Jacob Daniel Cox and Martha Ruiz received the keys to their new Dos Palos home. They were part of the last cohort of 11 families to participate in this area’s new construction project by Self-Help Enterprises. Jacob and Martha began construction of their home back in September 2017 and since then have developed life-long skills that, according to Martha, “now hold a spot in their resume.”

The homes were built under the mutual self-help method of construction where each family is required to contribute a minimum of 40 hours a week working on all the homes for a period of 9 to 12 months. Together, with skilled onsite supervision, families pour foundations, frame homes, install electrical wiring, hang doors and windows and even lay tile and paint. These labor hours, or “sweat equity,” are used as the down payment on their new home, reducing costs for a new home they could otherwise not afford. Over the last three years, Self-Help Enterprises has built 43 homes in Dos Palos, a community that is predominantly Hispanic and has an estimated median household income of $36,500.

Martha and Jacob went from living in an unsafe, poorly insulated apartment where their children, ages 3 and 5, often complained about the heat and cold, to living in a safe, energy-efficient home they now call their own. Previously, Martha warned her children about how unsafe it was to play outside their apartment. Today, they frequent the neighborhood park and regularly engage with their neighbors. Throughout the several months of construction, families not only build each other’s homes but also have the opportunity to build trust and community—attributes that highly correlate with safe and healthy neighborhoods.

-Capacity Building for Tule River Indian Tribe-
Recently, SHE has expanded collaborative efforts to include tribal housing, and formed a partnership with the Tule River Indian Housing Authority (TRIHA) . The Tule River tribe is located in SHE’s service territory (Tulare County) and the partnership furthers our mission to work together with low-income families to build and sustain healthy homes and communities.

The Self-Help Enterprises’ Real Estate Development team has been providing one-on-one technical assistance to the TRIHA Board and staff to develop their first low-income housing tax credit project. Having never applied for tax-credits or State funding such as the HOME program or utilizing the Title XI loan guarantee program, the TRIHA has requested technical assistance to navigate the complex requirements of these federal resources. SHE has provided tax credit 101 training to the TRIHA Board and Tribal Council, assisted the TRIHA with the application for Title VI funds and will be collaborating with the TRIHA on loan negotiations and investor selections. Working together, the TRIHA is building local capacity to pursue future projects for tribal members.

-Energy Pilots for SJV Disadvantaged Communities -
While California is among the top states in the nation in electricity generation from renewable resources, many San Joaquin Valley disadvantaged communities still rely on propane and wood burning to cook, make hot water and heat their homes. Over 170 communities in the region do not have access to natural gas. These residents have endured a lifetime of high energy costs and the negative health effects that come with wood burning and propane use. In 2014, SHE worked to pass Assembly Bill 2672. The law requires the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) to identify disadvantaged communities in San Joaquin Valley counties that lack affordable energy access and analyze the economic feasibly of affordable energy alternatives.

Since 2016, SHE has worked with the CPUC to identify 12 disadvantaged communities to partake in ‘energy pilot projects’ that are expected to provide energy cost savings via natural gas line extensions, electrification, community solar or any combination of such. SHE will support gathering data, evaluating feasibility, and cost effectiveness of pilot projects. Recently, SHE was selected to co-chair the data gathering component of the project, and we expect to have an active role in the implementation phase of the pilots. In addition, SHE recently received a $75,000 donation to support our outreach and energy education work in these communities. These pilot projects and data gathering endeavors will directly inform CPUC decision-makers on the best ways to provide assistance to the hundred plus remaining communities. 
-Resident Services Activities-
Summer STEAM Program in Richgrove
This summer, Vera Cruz Village in Richgrove hosted the first cohort of STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, Math) programming for middle school age students. Over 40 Richgrove youth attended the “Mad Scientist Club” where students explored foundational scientific concepts through very fun and often messy experiments.

The club was open to residents at both of SHE's Richgrove rental community sites (Vera Cruz Village and Nueva Sierra Vista) and the entire Richgrove community! This program is important because Self-Help Enterprises believes in providing access to quality STEAM opportunities in the rural communities we serve.
Developing Resident Leaders in Affordable Housing
On September 15, over 20 residents from all over the San Joaquin Valley gathered at the community room of the Biola Village Apartments to learn about affordable housing. The training was hosted by Residents United Network (RUN ) San Joaquin Valley and focused on developing resident leaders and educating them on critical affordable housing issues. Topics included: the process of voting, expressing your voice, how a bill becomes a law, and how to get involved in the political process. Attendees came from a variety of SHE rental communities and EAH Housing . They also discussed key propositions such as Prop 1 and 2. RUN is an organization that promotes civic engagement among people historically excluded from decision-making tables to advance sound, equitable policy solutions that address affordable housing, homelessness and economic opportunity.