Texas Department of Housing & Community Affairs - Building Homes and Strengthening Communities

TDHCA Press Room

CDC Brownsville, TDHCA Self Help Center brings new homes to La Sara residents

The Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs (“TDHCA”) collaborated with the Community Development Corporation of Brownsville (“CDCB”) to help reconstruct seven homes in La Sara, a colonia located in Willacy County. The reconstruction was provided through the Cameron/Willacy County Self Help Center as part of the key services and assistance made available to low and very low-income individuals and families living in the area.

With just over 1,000 residents*, La Sara rests just outside downtown Raymondville and the median household income is approximately $25,000 annually. CDCB administers the services provided at the SHC, including construction and rehabilitation of homes, construction skills training, housing finance, and credit and debt counseling.

La Sara is a quiet neighborhood with less than a dozen streets, but it’s not hard to pick out the new homes among the mix. With a distinct look brought to market by CDCB, each home is a unique presence among its neighbors with personal touches added inside and out by each family.

“Families are empowered by the home-building process,” explained Leo Barrera, construction manager with CDCB. “They pick the design elements and work with the architects to determine what best fits their needs inside their home. We also work with the families in terms of understanding maintenance and energy savings.”

Each new reconstruction has been designated as an Energy Star Certified Home, meaning it earned the Energy Star label and underwent stringent inspection and testing requirements by the federal Environmental Protection Agency.

“Energy efficiency plays a major role in south Texas,” said Barrera. “We’ve approached our builds very differently through energy-saving practices. Utility bills can drop by half because of the materials we use, which can make life much easier and cheaper for the families living here.”

The reconstruction for each home was coordinated through the Cameron/Willacy County Self Help Center. TDHCA’s Colonia Self-Help Center Program is funded by the federal Community Development Block Grant (“CDBG”) Program through a Memorandum of Understanding between the Texas Department of Agriculture, which receives the state’s CDBG allocation from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, and TDHCA.

See the results of the Self-Help Centers!

*2010 census


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