Edith Arreguin was putting some finishing touches to her bran new home in Goshen on Thursday. "It makes me feel real happy, excited and it's the American dream to have a house," said Arreguin.
Arreguin is one of 10 families that will be able to move into their new homes next week as part of a program that improves the living conditions of low-income people in the Valley.
"Ten families here have built their first home and are going to be in for Thanksgiving. They're going to be home for the holidays, a home they built themselves with their neighbors in our self-help sweat equity program," said Tom Collishaw, vice president of Self-Help Enterprises.
To qualify, participants need to have a steady job, good credit and put in 32 hours of labor to build their homes. That was a challenge for Arreguin who already works 42 hours a week as a medical assistant.
"I work all day, it's really hard but in my mind I'm only thinking it's for the good of me, myself and my child and that's worth it," said Arreguin.
Self-Help Enterprises will provide 77 homes in the new development of Park Village in Goshen. Recently, more than 50 low-income families moved into affordable rental homes in this working class community.
"New housing has a tremendous impact on older communities, it brings new life into a community, brings new families, brings children," said Tulare County Board Supervisor Steve Worthley.
On the other end of the block, Matt Cobb is tightening bolts to strengthen the foundation of his home. But even having just one arm to work with isn't stopping him from being a home owner.
"I do what I can, there's some things that I can't do. I will try anything but if my disability hampers me from getting up on the roof or whatever, I'm not going to get up to where I get hurt or something," said Cobb.
Like most Self-Help participants, Cobb has no experience in home construction but gets help from an onsite supervisor. "They're pretty crafty guys and they know a lot more about construction than I do, I got to admit but I'm a quick learner," said Cobb.
And the faster he completes his home, the sooner he'll be able to move in.
Aside from the new homes, there are also plans to build a 10 acre park and a clinic to provide health care to the low-income community.