Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva today announced a $1,361,760 U.S. Department of Agriculture grant to the non-profit social assistance group Comite de Bien Estar to identify, screen and prepare candidates for USDA's Mutual Self-Help Housing Program. Under the program, families provide a substantial portion of the labor involved in building their own homes, reducing the purchase cost putting affordable housing within reach for low-income families.
Comite de Bien Estar Administrator Marco A. "Tony" Reyes and USDA Rural Development State Director Alan Stephens were also at the San Luis event (see attached picture) to speak about the importance of housing and USDA assistance to rural communities.
"If we really want improved housing and a better economy, we need these kinds of innovative partnerships, more smartly targeted grants, and a lot of hard work," Rep. Grijalva said. "This project, and many others like it, is about meeting realistic goals and helping working Americans take ownership of their futures. When people see the human face of government efforts to expand home ownership, they support programs and grants like the one we're announcing today."
"The program brings different families together to work on each other's house," Stephens said. "That builds and strengthens the ties of community. The families build friendships and community as they build homes."
Stephens thanked Rep. Grijalva for his longtime support of housing and other programs that help Arizona's rural communities. He also praised the long and productive relationship between USDA Rural Development and Comite de Bien Estar, which have jointly built more than 525 homes in the area since forming a partnership in 1999.