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San Benito
April 14, 2024

Residents can join interest list for self-help homes project on Southside Road

The Community Services Development Corporation has started an initial interest list for the new self-help housing project on Southside Road. 

The project is located at the site of the former convalescent hospital demolished two years ago. The plan is to build 24 homes there, said Sonny Flores, executive director of CSDC.

Flores said the agency has an abundance of information about the project on its website, https://www.csdcsbc.org/self-help-housing. That should be helpful in the short term because the agency’s office is closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Flores said. 

CSDC hopes to hold a lottery for the homes this summer, while there are still necessary approvals at the county level. Flores stressed that the interest list is not an application, and the agency will follow up with people by email about applying. 

According to the CSDC description of the program: 

CSDC can make the dream of becoming a homeowner a reality for low-income families in the San Benito County. Through our program, eight to twelve families are grouped together and agree to help each other build their houses with skilled onsite supervision and guidance of CSDC construction staff.

The homes are 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. Family hours can be provided by the owners-to-be, any household member 16 years of age or older and approved helpers. Together, 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. CSDC also assists each applicant with securing the loans needed to build their home. Special financing from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the State of California makes these homes affordable.

Participants choose from three and four bedroom floor plans, which include a dishwasher and range, two car garages, landscaped front yard, and energy-efficient features.

What makes the program so successful is that the participating families not only work on their own home, but everyone works on every house in the building group and no one moves in until all houses are completed, creating a community bond.

CSDC does more than work with families to build a new, safe place to call home. Families are witnesses to the results of hard work and personal investment. Their homes stand as living proof that they and their children can shape their own futures.

Benefits of the Program

  • No Down Payment and Closing Costs are included in your Primary Loan
  • Monthly mortgage payment is based on household’s income
  • Your payment could be lower than what you pay for rent
  • Low interest rates
  • Energy efficient homes    
  • A brand new home for your family

Main Qualifications

  • Good credit status (no credit may be acceptable) (>640 Preferred)
  • ​Stable income from employment and other sources of income 
  • Income that does not exceed eligibility guidelines
  • Ability and willingness to meet the labor requirement
  • Main applicant must be a permanent resident or U.S. citizen

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