Catholic Charities Housing Services continues mission of helping low-income families

Catholic Charities Housing Services continues mission of helping low-income families.

SUNNYSIDE, Wash.- Rain, shine or snow, families who are part of the New Life Homes Program are working on the houses they will eventually move into.

The program puts four to ten families together to help build each other’s future homes.

Emily Freeborn, Catholic Charities Housing Services, said this not only helps you get to know your neighbor, but it also pays off in a big way when construction is finished.

“Families usually put in around 1,100 hours of sweat equity into their home. What that gives them in the end, that gives them around $25,000 worth of equity in their house,” she said.

Families qualify based on their income and the houses usually take around six to eight months to build.

Freeborn is the single-family housing program manager and said it's a way for families to work their way out of poverty.

“It's an asset building process and that's really what we are going for. Getting families out of low-income and getting them to a different level to where they can actually gain assets for their family and move up in the world,” she said.

Families work on the houses for around 30 hours a week and get paired with a professional to see their home come together piece by piece.

Rodolfo Sotelo went through the program in 2015 and is now a construction coordinator for the Catholic Charities Housing Services.

He said building the homes was one of the best experiences of his life, but also an emotional roller coaster.

“You get to a time when you are excited. You get kind of frustrated because you feel like the progress isn't going by too fast and just the happiness of all the hard work dedication you give to your house. When you get the key, it's the best feeling ever,” he said.

He compares building with other families to the common expression of getting to know your neighbors by asking them for a cup of sugar.

But this time you are asking them to pass the paint brush.

“Just being able to work on your home and this is a group thing. So, nobody gets to move into their home until the whole group is done,” Sotelo

In the Yakima Valley, about 175 single family houses have been built through the new life homes program.

The Sunnyside development off east south hill road has 38 homes with 11 currently being built.

Catholic Charities Housing Services recently bought nine and a half acres of land off of Allen road in Sunnyside.

Freeborn said they plan on building about 60 homes there with construction starting close to the end of this year.

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