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September, 2016 - In This Issue
Construction continues at Highland Gardens, Self-Help Enterprises' newest affordable apartment rental housing community in Visalia. Highland Gardens, located at 2423 North Highland Street, between Riggin and Ferguson avenues, consists of 36 two- and three-bedroom apartments as well as a basketball court, playground, community center, and community garden. The new development is expected to be completed by November. Rental applications are available by calling (559) 651-2579.
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 a  Self-Help Housing Program Manager responsible for recruitment and financing activities of the mutual self-help housing program; multiple Community Development Specialist positions responsible for helping rural communities in obtaining safe drinking water and sanitary disposal systems; a  Drought Project Tech responsible for conducting water sampling of temporary water tank systems and facilitating implementation of drought relief efforts; an Administrative Analyst responsible for grant administration and reporting, fiscal management, and contract development; and a Housing Rehabilitation Project Tech to support our Housing Rehabilitation program.

Access to computers and the internet is becoming increasingly important to succeed in the workplace and school. In an effort to close the digital divide, Self-Help Enterprises offers access to computer labs at many community centers located within our apartment rental communities. 

In August 2015, Self-Help Enterprises received a California Advanced Services Fund (CASF) Broadband Public Housing Account Infrastructure Grant Award in the amount of $232,800 to further boost internet access.

The funding from CASF was designated to implement broadband infrastructure capabilities on nine apartment rental communities within the San Joaquin Valley. As of August 2016, the project is now complete, offering free broadband Wi-Fi to residents of Cottonwood Creek in Madera, Lincoln Plaza in Hanford, Villa Del Rey in Del Rey, North Park in Oildale, Almond Court in Wasco, Caliente Creek in Arvin, Sunrise Villa in Wasco, Villa Hermosa in Wasco, and Washington Plaza in Earlimart. Residents in 442 apartment units now enjoy free Wi-Fi at home.

In January 2016, Self-Help Enterprises received additional funding from the CASF Broadband Public Housing Account in the amount of $98,900 to provide broadband infrastructure capabilities on three additional apartment rental communities. These include Rancho Lindo in Lamont, Rolling Hills in Newman and Solinas Village in McFarland. 

The project is in development and expected to be completed by the end of October, bringing free Wi-Fi for residential use and the onsite computer labs.
Setting out to build a home from the ground up with a group of families is a bond that is shared among our participants in the  Build Your Own Home Program. For three participants - Alex Nava, Daniel Ramirez, and Adie Etheridge - the bond runs deeper. After participating in the program, they all transferred their commitment and leadership from their homebuilding groups to the organization by becoming dedicated staff.

In 2006, Alex Nava and Daniel Ramirez were part of the group that built their homes in Earlimart. Working together with other families, Alex and Daniel learned how to pour foundations, frame homes, install electrical wiring, and lay tile. These labor hours, or "sweat equity", were used as the down payment on their affordable homes, but also as training for their future positions as Construction Superintendents.

"The experience of building my own home helps me work with and understand the challenges the families have, but I also see their achievements every time families move in to their new home," said Daniel. Today, Alex and Daniel continue to live in the homes they built 10 years ago.

For Adie Etheridge, a promise she made to herself led her to cross paths with Self-Help Enterprises. Adie and her family lost their dairy business when the economy took a downturn a few years ago. This unexpected situation affected their finances and ability to be homeowners.

Yet, as a third generation Gustonian, Adie was steadfast in remaining close to family in her hometown of Gustine (Merced County). She promised herself that within five years, she and her husband would own a home where they could create memories as a family with their three children. Last year, Adie received the keys to her new, affordable home that she built in Gustine. Adie's determination to make good on her promise led her to be among the standout participants in the group of families that built their homes, which led to her being hired as a new homes construction assistant earlier this year.

With hard work, will and dedication, Alex, Daniel, and Adie didn't just build their home, they built the foundation to help other families achieve the dream of homeownership.

Access to safe drinking water is essential in building and sustaining healthy communities. However, in small, disadvantaged rural communities where the ongoing drought has had a significant impact, the availability of drinking water becomes scarce. Frequently, local water supplies in these communities are contaminated with substances such as arsenic and nitrates.

However, even in communities where the water meets federal and state requirements, adults and children alike often do not use the drinking fountains in schools, parks and other public places because of the stigma that comes along with drinking tap water or water fountains are either broken, dirty and unappealing, or are not filtered for contaminants that might be known to the area. When reluctant to drink the water supply, the consumption of sugary drinks and/or plastic bottled water increases.

As a response to these issues, Self-Help Enterprises has partnered with the Rural Community Assistance Corporation (RCAC) to implement the Agua4All program. Agua4All is an innovative program to encourage students and communities to increase access to and consumption of safe drinking water in rural areas in California. Agua4All raises awareness about the lack of safe drinking water access in many schools and communities; creates unique public-private partnerships to install water bottle filling stations equipped, where needed, with contaminant filtration systems; and advocates for sustainable long-term solutions to ensure safe drinking water for all.
Self-Help Enterprises will be installing up to 50 water bottle filling stations in:

  • Plainview Park
  • Reef Sunset School District
  • Parlier High School
  • Riverdale
  • Maple School in Kern County
  • McFarland School District
  • Wasco School District
  • Sanger Unified School District
  • Greenfield School District
  • Alta Vista Elementary School District
In addition to installing water bottle filling stations in schools and other easily accessible public places in rural communities, Self-Help Enterprises will work with RCAC to distribute reusable water bottles to students and conduct outreach and education to encourage water consumption and create positive community perceptions to drinking filtered tap water.

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8445 W. Elowin Court, Visalia, CA 93291
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