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The city of Palm Desert is working to bring home ownership to some low-income families

The first group of qualifying participants commences constructing their homes as owners/builders at the Palm Desert Merle Dr. Self-Help Project at the groundbreaking ceremony. Ten families out of fourteen walked the grounds of their future forever homes.

"Participants will complete the build under the technical assistance and guidance of Coachella Valley Housing Coalition construction staff, providing approximately 40% of the construction labor, with the remaining labor provided by subcontractors," says Pedro Rodriguez, the Executive Director of the Housing Coalition.

When Jason Martinez and Karla Fuentes (participants in the program) found out they would get loan support and help financially, they committed to the process. "It takes the weight off of, you know, trying to figure out how much you got to put down," says Martinez. "And what do we got to do to save and, knowing all the grants and the programs are all to help and support, it definitely takes away the stress."

A CVHC press release says, "This unique style of building inherently creates a sense of teamwork, pride, comradery, and dedication to their neighbors and neighborhood."

Once construction is complete, all new owners will take possession of their properties simultaneously.

"So that's one of the biggest things we're looking forward just more space at home because we're at an apartment," says Karla Fuentes, a participant in the program. "So just having our own home, backyard, you know, it's a nice area. So we'd like that. We're looking forward to that."

The Palm Desert Merle Dr. Self-Help project is designed to enable individuals and families to become first-time homeowners by allowing them to build their homes as members of a multi-family self-help group, earning "sweat equity" in doing so.

"We were working on our stuff, making sure we're like, good standing, I guess I would say, and but when this program came about, it just seemed like it was right," says Fuentes. "And we were able to, you know, qualify and stuff like that." She says whatever they need to do, they will continue to do, counting down the day until she and her family can move in.

CVHC is looking for four more individuals or families to participate in this project. More information on how to apply may be found at

The Coachella Valley Housing Coalition, having recently celebrated its 40th anniversary, is a leader in developing single and multi-family homes for low and very low-income individuals and families throughout Riverside and Imperial Counties. For more information, visit

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Miyoshi Price

Miyoshi joined KESQ News Channel 3 in April 2022. Learn more about Miyoshi here.


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