Verde Valley Habitat for Humanity is so excited to welcome Rachel Hernandez and her son Jaime to their new home in Cottonwood. Rachel and Jaime were able to move into their new home on the week of Thanksgiving. We had a wonderful House Dedication on November 13th that included Rachel’s family and friends, as well as, many of the companies and organizations that partnered with Verde Valley Habitat for Humanity to make this project possible.
Verde Valley Habitat for Humanity would like to thank those who worked together with us in the planning and execution of building this home for the Hernandez Family:
- Jim Brunot, VVHFH Construction Manager
- Jim Lawler, Lawler Construction – Contractor
- Construction Committee Volunteer Members
We would also like to thank the companies and organizations that partnered with Verde Valley Habitat for Humanity in the building of this home:
- Jason Federbush Architech
- Central Arizona Plan Exchange
- Hammes Surveying
- Steve Burnett Enterprises
- GeoTec Residential
- Gabion Supply
- SEC Consultants
- Precision Structural Concrete
- Salt River Material Group
- Conn Pest Control
- Sure Build
- Beamer Roofing
- Dewey’s Plumbing
- Geottle’s High Desert Mechanical
- S. Electric
- The Trim Connection
- Gale Contractors
- Total Building Systems
- Jimenez Plastering
- Malarkey Roofing Products
- Sedona Paint Center
- EVO Energy Solutions
- Nice Jon’s
- Taylor & Sons Hauling
- The Home Depot
- Brent Maupin, P.E.
- Jim Lawler
This home build presented unique challenges in the planning. These challenges were overcome by the team of individuals who were involved and those include:
- Jim Lawler
- Dan Peterson
- Jason Federbush
- Krishon with SEC, Inc.
Thank you to all of you for staying vigilant and focused to make this home build a reality.
The construction of this home, as with all the homes that we build, would not be possible without the amazing donors and volunteers that put so much love into building homes with us. We thank you all for all that you do to make this mission possible in the Verde Valley.
Rachel Hernandez chose to partner with Verde Valley Habitat for Humanity and she has worked very hard to become an approved homeowner. Rachel is 5th generation Verde Valley. After Rachel’s divorce, she and her son Jaime returned to the Verde Valley and moved in with her mother until she could find a place of their own. Home ownership seems out of her reach for reasons beyond her control.
Jaime, who turned 20 in July, has been in and out of hospitals his whole life, from Phoenix Children’s Hospital to Texas Children’s Hospital, where they have tried Nerve Replacement surgeries and extensive treatments. Jaime was born with Brachial Plexus Palsy, an injury affecting the spine, nerve fibers and upper limbs.
After being turned down repeatedly for home loans, Rachel became discouraged and was losing hope. She continued to push forward stating, “I need a safe home for Jaime and his care.”
Rachel came into Verde Valley Habitat for Humanity ReStore to look around and ended up talking at length with Bonnie. Bonnie explained how the Habitat program works and how to get qualified. Rachel said that she has “always been a go getter because I have always had to be an advocate for Jaime and his care.” Rachel eagerly completed an application for homeownership with Verde Valley Habitat for Humanity. “The complete goal was to have a home for Jaime. It’s always been about Jaime, whatever his needs are.”
When Rachel and Jaime found out that they were approved for their new home with Verde Valley Habitat for Humanity they were elated, but more importantly, they felt a renewed sense of hope for the future. Jaime asked his Mom, “I’m going to have my own room?” and Rachel replied with “Yes, honey you are!” Jaime would soon realize what most young people take for granted: a space he can call his own. He quickly claimed ownership of his room when he told his Mom “You can decorate the whole house but not my room, Mom!”
Rachel had been living in an older Camp Trailer for a while, with no running water or electricity. Jaime has had to stay with his dad. Rachel admits the separation, albeit temporary, is difficult. Each day they would go and see the progress that was being made and they eagerly anticipated move-in day! Jaime enjoyed picking the many paint color swatches to decide what color he wanted to paint his room. The process was actually therapeutic for Jaime, as his mind was occupied with a happy outcome and a better future.
Rachel manages a local furniture store and enjoys visiting with the store’s many customers. From her visits with the area residents, Rachel shares “People are struggling in the Verde Valley to survive!”
Rachel exhorts her customers to “Never give up! Do whatever you have to for you and your family! Don’t take no for an answer!”
The process to become an approved homeowner is not easy. The first step is submitting an application.
- Be a resident of the Verde Valley for a minimum of a year
- An inability to purchase a home on the open real estate market
- Paying more than 30% of their income toward housing
- Living in substandard housing conditions
- Overcrowded housing conditions
- Or be without a home at the time of application and approval
- Have an income between 30-60% of the Yavapai Median income.
The Homeowner Selection Committee reviews the application and income qualifies the applicant.
If the applicant qualifies and has the ability to pay an affordable mortgage, then the Homeowner Selection Committee completes a background check, a sex offender check, and a credit check.
Once these checks are completed, two home visits are scheduled and volunteers from the homeowner selection committee visit the applicant in their home.
Once the applicant has been qualified and approved, the then approved homeowner must pay a $1000 down payment and complete 300-450 hours of sweat equity by volunteering their time working in the ReStore at events and in the construction of their home, as well as, completing training and workshops such as financial instruction.
It is not easy to become an approved VVHFH homeowner. It’s much easier for the typical homeowner to work with a financial institution to get qualified to purchase a home. Then we either search for and purchase a resale home or we find a contractor whom we will contract to build a home. No one will check our background, visit our home, require us to take classes or volunteer our time to help an organization and the build our own home. Homeowner success is our goal.
We know our homeowners are successful and that our program works. VVHFH has had two homeowners pay off their mortgages just in the past year.
We are so proud that Rachel chose Verde Valley Habitat for Humanity and was able to move into her home recently. Now she and Jaime can look forward to a brighter future!