Habitat for Humanity Westside dedicates two new homes

mgaytan@losbano senterprise.comDecember 13, 2013 

Habitat for Humanity Westside dedicated two newly remodeled homes in South Dos Palos and held a block party to celebrate the families.

A portion of the road was blocked off in front of Maria Campos’ residence Saturday to welcome her and her family into a home with heating, roofing and a room for each of her family members. “It’s a celebration of the family,” said Ashlee Williams, development and operations manager for Habitat.

The two projects are part of a neighborhood revitalization initiative. The initiative was designed to transform South Dos Palos using a holistic approach. Habitat Westside has joined local residents, nonprofits, businesses, local governments and communities of faith to create and implement a shared vision of revitalization. “Part of what we’re best at is home improvement,” Williams said.

Jennifer Loa, secretary for Habitat, said most of the Campos home was remodeled, while the second home had its roof replaced and painted, which took about three months. Work done on the Campos home took almost a year, organizers said. Traditionally, Habitat does new home ownership, but in this case, they worked with Campos to improve her housing situation by doing in-home repairs. “It was very comprehensive,” Williams said.

A new ceiling was installed, along with new walls and rooms. The front door was moved from one area to the front of the house, and new windows were installed. Carpet was placed in every room and a bathroom was added. According to volunteers, the home was designed like an old warehouse with lots of open space.

“It was very cold and there were holes in the walls,” Campos said through an interpreter. Her life-long friend Irma Vasquez was the interpreter.

Campos also said all the rooms needed to be upgraded. Originally a two-bedroom, one-bath home, there was never any insulation or central heating put in.“The heating wasn’t good and I know it wasn’t,” Vasquez said. “I used to come and she (Campos) would ask me if I wanted a blanket while I visit because it was cold.”

Campos refers to Vasquez as her sister. She was there when Vasquez purchased the home more than 30 years ago. “She (Campos) thanks God first for the program that exists to be able to help these needs in the homes,” Vasquez said.

Martha Pineda Scheuble, volunteer for Habitat, said she worked all summerlong on the home helping to repair it. She said she’s really proud to see the transformation. “I’m really happy for the family,” Pineda Scheuble said. “They finally have a place that’s livable and warm. It was really cold when we worked on this house.”

The Campos home repair project cost around $20,000. Habitat and the Campos family have worked out a plan to pay back the loan. “The overall look of the house has improved,” Williams said. “Habitat, in general, just feels good when other families have safe, decent housing.”

Reporter Marina Gaytan can be reached at (209) 826-3831 or mgaytan@losbanos enterprise.com.

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