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Dropouts build house for low-income, first-time homebuyers

By Rudy Arispe | 27 de enero de 2013

San Antonio.- Sixty former high-school dropouts, who are now AmeriCorps members of SA Youth’s YouthBuild program, spent the past 17 months hammering, drilling and sawing to construct one of their biggest outdoor projects – a 1,216-square-foot, 3-bedroom, 2-bath house complete with energy-efficient features at 227 Jemison St. on the city’s East side.

Guests at 227 Jemison applauded the members for their work and delighted in viewing the brown-and-yellow, single-story home during an open house event Jan. 16. The house is for sale for $88,000 for a low-income, first-time homebuyer. Any family who is interested in purchasing the home or would like more information can contact SA Youth at (210) 223-3131 or e-mail Brooke Garcia at brooke@sanantonioyouth.org.

From June 2011 to November 2012, the 60 male and female participants, ages 16 to 24, laid the cement for the home’s foundation; constructed the frame; built the roof; installed lights, doors, windows and floors; painted the interior and exterior; and ran electrical wires through the house; among all other homebuilding tasks.  

For her part, Irene Silva, 18, helped with the insulation of the house, installed the tiles on the living room and kitchen floor and assisted with the landscaping. “It was a lot of hard work, but I learned a lot, especially how to use tools,” she said. “Now when things are broken at my house I can fix them on my own and not have to call anyone. Just because I’m a girl doesn’t mean I can’t do construction work, too.”

Features of the house include Energy Star windows, doors, ceiling fans and appliances; high-efficiency toilets; compact fluorescent lights; low flow sinks and shower fixtures; green label certified carpet and adhesives; high-efficiency cellulose walls and sprayed foam roof insulation; interior and exterior low VOC paints; and xeriscape landscaping.

  “This beautiful, 3-bedroom, 2-bathroom, energy-efficient house is a true labor of love for our YouthBuild members who spent 17 months building it from the ground up based on the knowledge and skills they acquired in their construction classes,” said Cynthia Le Monds, CEO of SA Youth. “We are all so proud of them for the time, dedication and commitment they put into building the home.”

 Guadalupe Lopez, YouthBuild construction manager who supervised the members’ work, said the project not only allowed them to put into practice what they learned in the classroom, but also helped them gain self-esteem and confidence.

 “They were so proud to see that they could do good work and a good job just like any other professional homebuilder,” Lopez said.

  Completion of the house was made possible with in-kind donations from Alterman, Atlas Floors, BMC, Chesmar Homes, Dynamic Systems Inc., Floor Granite Wholesale, Orsinger Foundation, Speegle-Kim Davis Architecture, Sundt Foundation, WBM Heritage Roofing Inc. and Zachry Construction Corp.  Other donors were JP Morgan Chase Foundation, Bank of America, and the City of San Antonio Economic Development Department.

 SA Youth is a nonprofit organization that keeps at-risk children and youth off the streets and in school engaged in learning. Its YouthBuild program offers young adults a second chance in life by providing them with an opportunity to earn a high school diploma or GED while receiving workforce training in construction, technology or culinary arts. For more information, visit www.sanantonioyouth.org.

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