Santa Ana : Housing Corp. Helps Impossible Come True


A combination of cash and sweat can translate into affordable homes for people with moderate to low incomes through a program offered by the Civic Center Barrio Housing Corp.

The organization helped 20 families complete construction of homes on Raitt Street last January. A second phase of the owner-builder projects is now ready to begin and organizers are inviting applications for 21 homes.

Applicants will bid for homes priced at $65,000 to $89,000, which is as much as $55,000 below the cost of similar homes in Santa Ana, officials said. “It’s a unique program for the area,” executive director Bruce Sternberg said.


Owner-builders are provided training and do most of their part of the construction, which usually involves such activities as painting, drywall, carpentry and planting, on weekends and nights. Down payments will be 5% of the price with low-interest financing provided by the California Housing Finance Agency. Financial assistance is also available for lower-income applicants.

The homes are two-story condominiums with three bedrooms, enclosed garages, patios, dishwashers and wall-to-wall carpeting.

Sternberg noted that the organization is hoping that the second phase of “El Sueno Imposible” (The Impossible Dream) will also involve the use of some manufactured housing, which would have owner-builders working in the Fullerton factory of Covington Technologies. “The use of prefabricated housing will allow us to cut down the construction time,” he said. “People tend to start getting burned out after 10 to 12 months.”

Although Civic Center Barrio Housing Corp. uses state and federal grant funds to help finance the projects, donations and private assistance are still necessary to bring the dreams to reality. The group hopes to obtain temporary use of warehouse facilities near the construction sites in west and south Santa Ana, as well as donations of construction materials and cash.