“We submitted the detailed construction drawings to the city’s building department and they’ve given us the comments back on those plans. That’s kind of a normal thing for them to come in and ask for more information like that, so we have responded to the first round of the plan checks they’ve done at the city,” said Kenneth Trigueiro, CEO and president of the nonprofit.
“Now we are just waiting for the city to approve the building permits. Once the building permits are available to issue then we will bring families that are qualified through a process.”
People’s Self-Help Housing are helping families who are earning no more than about 80% of the area median income to build their own homes on the site. Eligibility also depends on how many people are in the household.
The nonprofit has completed about 1,200 such homes, and they work solely on the Central Coast, serving San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara and Ventura counties. They have also constructed projects in Monterey County, but Santa Maria is considered PSHH’s “home turf,” said Trigueiro.
“The reason it’s going to be affordable to them so their housing cost won’t be more than about 30 or 35% of their income is … because they contribute a lot of their own labor,” said Trigueiro. “Every week they’ll be working on their house and their neighbor’s house.”
According to Trigueiro it takes about 12 to 14 months to complete the project and individuals can do quite a bit of their own labor with the more basic elements of construction. PSHH also brings in various “professional traits” to assist in parts of the construction that require a licensed professional.
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“We will help the families to understand how to do basic principles of construction and so we have a licensed contractor on our staff who will help the families with that. He supervises that work and some of the training,” said Trigueiro. “Then alongside them working on their own homes we also help find and contract with local contractors like electricians and plumbers to come in and do work on the house too.”
Trigueiro said families won’t be chosen until the permits are approved.
Those interested are able to apply now and after the process with the city is complete the selected few will be based on the program’s criteria.
“We usually have quite a few applicants. We may need to do a lottery for the folks that are qualified and interested to be selected,” said Trigueiro. “Once they’re selected, we can begin construction, so it’s still going to take a little while, probably we won’t be able to start construction until possibly next spring.”
According to Trigueiro PSHH applied for financing to identify some units for farmworker families specifically.
“We applied to the state for some financing to help make this project even more affordable to the families eventually and that state program that we applied for is set up to assist farmworkers and their families with home ownership opportunities,” said Trigueiro. “It’s essentially going to be a down payment assistance to help their mortgage cost be less to them.”
Photos: Santa Maria’s Hi-Way Drive-In hosts nostalgic last showing Thursday night
The last drive-in show
April Chavez is the Santa Maria City Reporter for the Santa Maria Times. If you have information, or a story idea that you would like to share, send her an email at [email protected].