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Housing projects accepting low-income applicants in SLO County

Courtesy: People's Self-Help Housing

Low-income families in San Miguel and Nipomo can soon apply to own and build their own single-family homes with the help of People’s Self-Help Housing.

The local nonprofit will support the construction of 25 new houses in San Luis Obispo County after recently qualifying for two loans from the Housing Assistance Council. The funding totals more than $300,000 and will help support 10 two-story homes in Nipomo and 15 single-story homes in San Miguel.

Ken Trigueiro is the President and CEO of People’s Self-Help Housing. He said they’ll be accepting applicants who are first-time buyers and earning 80 percent or below of the area’s median income. According to census data, that median was almost $78,000 in SLO County in 2020.

Households will be required to help build their houses, contributing what Trigueiro calls “sweat equity.”

“They’re putting in their labor — up to about 40 hours of work every single week — so it’s a lot," Trigueiro said. "It’s a huge commitment but they don’t necessarily have to know construction going in.”

A People's Self-Help Housing project called Missions Gardens.
Courtesy of People's Self-Help Housing
A People's Self-Help Housing project called Missions Gardens.

He said the labor that families put in to build their homes essentially cancels out their down payment for the house and keeps it affordable.

Monica Silva is a single mother who built her home in a previous San Miguel Self-Help Housing Project. The construction took her 17 months and she’s lived in her home now since 2018.

“It is so good to be able to know that you own your home,” Silva said.

Silva said the process wasn’t without challenges. She’d never done construction before and she missed out on social events working every weekend. She said she even walked away with a few cuts and scrapes. But, she said, all of it was worth it.

“Blood, sweat and tears," Silva said. "I mean, crying over the overwhelming amount of hours and work that you put in.”

She said the other families building their homes in the same development were a huge help during construction. She said they all live in the homes in the same neighborhood now and can lean on each other for support when they need it.

Trigueiro said construction on these homes will likely get started by next Spring and be complete about a year later. You can find the project’s application form online here.

Rachel Showalter first joined KCBX as an intern from Cal Poly in 2017. During her time in college, she anchored and reported for Mustang News at Cal Poly's radio station, KCPR. After graduating, she took her first job as a Producer at KSBY-TV. She returned to the KCBX team in October 2020, reporting daily for KCBX News until she moved to the Pacific Northwest in July of 2022. Rachel spends her off-days climbing rocks, cooking artichokes and fighting crosswords with friends.
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