HOUSING AUTHORITY PLANS OPEN HOUSE ON SWEAT-EQUITY HOUSING PROJECT

HOUSING AUTHORITY PLANS OPEN HOUSE ON SWEAT-EQUITY HOUSING PROJECT

After five months of contributing their time and efforts to assist professional builders, seven Doña Ana County families will soon turn the keys to their new homes in the Vado/Del Cerro community. Opportunities for 14 additional families remain open.

The Doña Ana County/City of Las Cruces Housing Authority will host an open house of the sweat-equity housing development from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., Sunday, Oct. 11.

The development stems from the Model Colonia Initiative, which got underway in November of 2003. Planners sought to create an opportunity for hard-working, low-income families to stake out a claim on the American Dream in a planned community where flood control, drainage, water, wastewater, utilities and roads were all taken into consideration.

Each of the energy-efficient, 1,267-square-foot homes sports three bedrooms and two bathrooms on a 1/3-acre lot, with an unheated two-car garage, washer/dryer hookups and easy access to nearby parks, schools and shopping.

Among the families who will soon move in to the new homes are firefighter Enrique and caregiver Lilia Longoria and their two children; New Mexico State University groundskeeper Jose Ramirez and NMSU student Victoria Gonzalez, who plan to raise a family in their new home; McCoy’s Lumber employee Alfonso and homemaker Yetlanesy Saenz and their three children; and professional caregiver Ofelia Chavez and her three children.

Families interested in applying for the remaining 14 home opportunities must have credit scores of at least 620 and meet a range of acceptable maximum incomes depending on family size (from $21,600 for a family of three up to $36,850 for a family of eight).

Qualifying families can request down-payment assistance, and the Community Action Agency of Southern New Mexico offers Individual Development Accounts that match family savings 4:1, up to $10,000. In addition, families can put in hours of labor on the housing development to offset financial shortfalls. Family members and friends who work on-site to assist the builders earn credit toward the costs of each home.

The open house event on Oct. 11 will showcase the entire development, located in the all-new Casas del Quinto Sol subdivision just off Interstate 10 at the corner of N.M. 227 and Quinto Sol Loop near Vado.

“The success of this subdivision,” said Doña Ana County/City of Las Cruces Housing Authority Executive Director Thomas G. Hassell, “has been thanks to our partners, including New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, the New Mexico Mortgage Finance Authority, the New Mexico Department of Finance and Administration, Doña Ana County Commissioners and staff, Medius, Inc., YWCA, First American Bank, Community Action Agency, Lower Rio Grande Water Authority, Gadsden Independent School District, state and federal elected officials, as well as other state and federal partners, including the USDA Rural Development, U. S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, New Mexico Environment Department, El Paso Electric, Enterprise Community Partners, Inc., and Fannie Mae.”

For more information on the program in advance of the open house, call the Housing Authority offices at (575) 528-2000.