Coachella Valley Housing Coalition Celebrates 40 Years of Helping Low Income Families

Carmela Karcher

“It’s changed my life,” Homeowner Benina Zavala said. “It is an experience that I will never ever forget for the rest of my life.”

Benina Zavala is a 38-year-old single mother.

On November 28th, it will mark her fifth year of becoming a homeowner.

A dream she didn’t think would be possible.

“Five years ago, I was going through a lot of struggles,” Zavala shared. “A divorce, I was living in an apartment complex for over 18 years and I was a mother with three children. I knew I just didn’t want to live in apartments anymore.”

That’s when her brother told her about the Coachella Valley Housing Coalition.

Through their Self-Help Housing Program, Zavala was able to make her dream of becoming a homeowner a reality.

But this didn’t come easy because she had to help build her home from the foundation up.

“I still can’t believe I did it. I was working full time,” she continued. “The rules are you have to put in 40 hours, so it’s like another full time job. There were two shifts. You can either come in the morning or you can come in in the evening. I would get off by 2:30. I would go pick up my kids from school. Then I would grab something to eat, put on my construction clothes and start driving back to Coachella. We shed tears, we shed blood, we sweat our butts off. I am so, so grateful for this opportunity.”

And now, CVHC has been helping thousands of families like Zavala’s for the past 40 years.

“The beauty about this program is a family will only pay what they can afford,” Executive Director of CVHC, Pedro Rodriguez, said. “In the definition of affordable housing, a family should not pay more than 30% of their gross income into affordable housing. So, they have money for food, clothing and transportation for the children. It’s a very good program.”

They also provide a construction supervisor, help administer funds and more.

But this isn’t all they do.

CVHC has childcare centers, after school programs, and even gives out scholarships.

And their work isn’t done.

“We are looking forward to the future,” Rodriguez continued. “We have planned in Mecca, we’re going to build 291 homes. We have planned in Thermal another 200+ homes. So the future looks good for the low income families in the Coachella Valley.”

“You go through a lot of storms,” Zavala shared. “In these five years, I went through so many storms, but the Coachella Valley Housing Coalition, they’re not just some workers, they take the time to hear your story to come to you to help you.”

To donate to CVHC, click here.

For more information on their Self-Help Housing Program, click here.

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