Across the state fewer and fewer people are able to purchase homes, and nowhere is this more true than in the Coachella Valley.
Valley resident and Vietnam Veteran Gordan Countryman became homeless after being laid off years ago.
“It’s actually horrible,” says Countryman. “When we were homeless, we lived between campgrounds and hotels. In and out.”
Luckily, he was able to qualify for a low-income housing program offered by the Coachella Valley Housing Coalition (CVHC) and built his own home, along with other applicants, in Desert Hot Springs.
“As you can see from these houses. These don’t look like low-income houses,” Countryman says.
Usually, the thought of low-income housing produces visions of run down, high rise apartment complexes riddled with crime; similar to the Chicago Cabrini Green housing project.
County and city leaders say this perception creates the image of “NIMBY” meaning “not in my backyard,” and it’s a difficult and tough representation to overcome.
Riverside District 4 Supervisor Manny Perez says, “I think that’s always a challenge. There needs to be an attitude a cultural shift.”
“NIMBYISM is a big issue in our community in Palm Springs and elsewhere,” says Palm Springs Councilwoman Christy Holstege.
The CVHC is working to upgrade the image and amenities of affordable housing by offering items such as pools, recreational facilities and modern homes.
“It’s not a fly by night and they’re not slapped together houses,” says Countryman.
“These are beautiful housing developments, that I always say [sic] are often nicer than where I live,” Holstege comments.
Countryman says without the program he and his family would still be on the street.
“Now I’m a homeowner and proud of it.”
For more information about the Coachella Valley Housing Coalition visit: CVHC.org.