Built in the mid-1980s, the Pueblo Nuevo Apartment complex in Coachella is home to more than 50 migrant farm workers and their families.
This week, the Riverside County Board of Supervisors approved $500,000 in federal funds for major repairs and upgrades to the apartments.
“It’s a great idea. We need it,” said Viridiana Herrera.
The project will be overseen by the Coachella Valley Housing Coalition.
The Herrera family says after 20 years, the complex is finally getting the help it deserves, includingfrom new water heaters, windows, kitchen cabinets, air conditioning and plumbing fixtures.
That’s not all. Energy star-rated appliances will be installed.
“The improvements here will go to energy efficiency and water conservation,” said Coachella Mayor Eduardo Garcia.
During the hot summer months, Herrera hopes it’ll be a relief to their wallets.
“If you want air conditioning, you have to pay for it. Hopefully, this will help bring change and help my mom with payments,” she said.
“For our residents here, the bottom line is it’s an impact to their pockets and checkbooks. If we can implement programs in assisting them in saving money, it’s a positive thing,” said Garcia.
It’s a positive investment after the state rejected the county’s appeal for $12 million in redevelopment money to finish the Mountain View Housing facility in Oasis, which would house hundreds of farm workers from the Duroville Mobile Home Park in Thermal.
However, Garcia assures the funds for the Pueblo Nuevo improvements are not state but federal.
“In this particular case, we’re talking about rehabilitation dollars. We’ll continue to work on the state issue, but we’re happy the investment is going into these communities.”
The city says the project will also create construction jobs for neighbors, with hopes of improving the quality of life for families like Herrera’s.
“I’m very grateful,” she said.
The housing coalition anticipates the project will start in February 2013.