Habitat for Humanity Helps Family

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MEDFORD, Ore. — Most people know that Habitat for Humanity helps low-income families become owners of affordable homes that they, in part, build. The specifics of the program, and how it truly impacts families, is not so well-known.

Restaurateur Guillermo Sanchez stays busy with his restaurant on Riverside.

“I’ve been working in the valley for 18 years like cooking breakfast for people. Doing the cooking. People know me for Memo,” said Sanchez.

His journey has not always been easy.

“This kind of life has been…It’s a tough situation,” Sanchez said. He was trying to raise his three boys alone and working two jobs, while living in a crumbling house.

“Like the winters, there was no heat, so like in the winters it was really cold,” recalled son Deigo. “We couldn’t sleep through the night so we had to like cover ourselves with a lot of blankets to like at least feel a little bit warm.”

“At our old house we, my brothers and my dad, all had to share one room because we didn’t have enough rooms for all of us,” said Joshua.

But then, they found Habitat for Humanity.

“We build houses for people in need that are low income and willing to help participate such as construction in the project and then upon completion we use volunteer labor donated materials if we can and then upon completion of the home we then sell the home at a 30 year no interest mortgage,” said Habitat for Humanity rep, Denise.

Like all Habitat families, the Sanchez family invested hundreds of hours into building their new home.

“Well I feel better because we finally have a nice house we have a kitchen, we have a living room you know, it’s not that amazing, but it’s still good enough for us and our yard is just perfect. All the effort that we put into it,” described Joshua.

“How I feel way better about this house is that we actually have neighbors. Good neighbors. We’re almost about to get new ones which really makes us happy,” said Jonathan.

Those neighbors, in fact all the families in this part of the neighborhood, are habitat families. There are currently 4 homes under construction, 5 were built last year, and there is also a new program meant to provide significant upgrades or renovations to already-standing homes.

Most of the time our homeowners take really good care of their homes and they don’t mind that we’re coming into the neighborhood and I think people are glad to see us offer up a hand up opportunity to people especially knowing that they have to participate in it. They have to put in at least 500 hours of sweat equity, be there at the jobsite, and learn how to build and how to take care of the home.

“The plants they bring out the beauty in the house so I did the outside of the line because that’s where we worked on the plants,” said Diego.

“We grabbed a shovel, dug a hole, put new plants in and new soil and watered it in, and it became beautiful,” Jonathan described.

“The roses are my favorite because they actually have colors,” Joshua remarked.

The yard, safe home, and strong roof are actually not the biggest benefit of habitat for humanity.

“It’s not uncommon for children to have to move 10 times maybe,” explained Denise. “So, one of the benefits that I see right off the bat is that I know that young children when they move into a habitat home they’ll be there for the rest of their growing up years. They don’t have to move any longer. So that’s what’s warmest in my heart.”

Which has certainly turned out to be the case for the Sanchez family.

“Well our life has changed because we’re worried about like risking our lives in the house with the roof and stuff like that,” said Joshua, “and this house it’s new and its built good and we also have a nice yard, too.”

“My life changed by the whole thing what they did with building houses is that when we moved in over here I made new friends and I really liked enjoying it here because we have a nice yard here, the other yard we had dried up dirt and there was no beautiful grass just pure gravel,” said Jonathan.

“Same as him I made new friends here my lifestyle is a little bit better now and like now I’m feeling safe here. Like when I go to sleep here I just like warm blankets I feel like more warmer than the other, our old house,” said Diego.

“After habitat everything is coming true. All my goals. All of my dreams are coming true,” said Memo.

Memo is one of the more than 1,000 volunteers who work each year to make the dreams of other families come true, too.

If you know someone who would benefit from Habitat for Humanity, or would like to help out, you can either contact the Rogue Valley Habitat Administrative Office at 541-779-1983. You can also go to their website.

There is a pre-application online that you can fill out to see if you qualify. To find out more, you can go to a free breakfast at Sacred Heart Church at 8 a.m. Friday morning. All denominations are welcome.


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  1. Tim says:

    This crap really pisses me off, Would somebody please tell me how he is in need? How is this guy in the low income level? This guy own’s his own restaurant, So it stand’s to reason that if he has enoff money to open a restaurant, he has enoff money to rent him a house. My wife died 4 years ago, I lost my job 3 year’s ago, I lost my home 4 month’s later, And I had to move my son and me into my mother’s home in West Medford. I have been searching everyday for a job but I have been unable to find a job hear. I think the reason is because Im 47, I had a mgr. at a local pizza place tell me he likes hiring young, even though I have everything they wanted to drive for them. I didn’t get the job, I called Habitat looking for help, I was told that they could not help me, And now I see that they are helping Sanchez get a home i mean WTF. I think they wont help me because im a 47 year old white american. I called other places here in the valley looking for help and was denied. I have lived here in the valley all my 47 years, I served in the Army for 6 years, I can’t even get somebody to piss on my if i was on fire. I really think that it is because im not a Mexican. It has been proven to me over and over again that if I was I could get a job and help.

  2. Citizen A says:

    Your post emanates with the mentality of a victim. Start looking at yourself in a new light. If more skills are needed, go back to school. Employment has been hard for everyone in the Valley. You don’t know if this man saved for years, while providing for his children, so that he could open a restaurant and become self-sufficient. The fact that he is Mexican has nothing to do with his Habitat for Humanity home. He sounds like a hard working human, not someone looking for entitlements. When we moved here, my husband looked for work for over a year before getting a job. Even though it’s through a temporary service, he doesn’t complain because he is happy to have some work. Guess what – he’s not Mexican! I have to agree with you that there is some age discrimination going on in the hiring process. You mentioned Habitat had nothing for you, but did you ever offer to volunteer with no strings attached? It is possible to meet potential employers through volunteering. Sometimes we have to give, before we receive. I hope you are able to find work soon.

  3. Megan says:

    Habitat is wonderful! They help people from all different walks of life, all different faiths, races, ages, marital status. Perhaps you should have come this morning to the breakfast! It was packed with good information about the program, including everything involved with applying for a habitat house. What is required of you to even apply, what is expected of you during the process and what Habitats role would be to help you every way they could. FYI Habitat here in the Rogue Valley is currently hiring for a few positions. Take a resume in to the restore and fill out an application if you are still looking for work! I do not work for Habitat nor am I a Habitat Homeowner, but I have a deep respect for what they are doing for the community. Try again with them. Whats the worst that could happen?

  4. chad rogers says:

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  5. Citizen A says:

    i see you still moderate FOR the racial comments KDRV

  6. Citizen B says:

    There is no perfect solution to any of our communities problems. But perhaps we should start at the basics and place some value on general education. Reading and writing correctly is important. The social skills we learn in Kindergarden that teach us to share and play well with others. That all are created equal. High school taught us to do our own research. Maybe we should get back to those basics. Learn how to spell. Let go of racist ignorance. Do your own research. In regards to Habitat… There are just as many white and mixed families as there are mexican. The guidelines for community outreach programs are the same for all those who apply. They dont change based on race, age, faith, marital status or any other reason. Again… reading is important. We should place higher value on basic education.

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