During the dedication, the family, who worked side-by-side with volunteers on the construction crew, contributing 250 hours of sweat equity in lieu of a down payment, received the ceremonial keys to their new three-bedroom house on St. Frances Drive.
Although modest in size, the rehabilitated home features a number of green and energy-efficient features, including a new light colored “cool roof,” new insulation, low VOC paint, Energy Star appliances, dual pane windows, updated lighting, low-flow toilets, new laminate flooring and tile and a 90-percent efficient furnace.
Family members are Ricardo Lozano, Haidi Muro, their 7-month-old son, Jacob, and Haidi’s father, Jose. Ricardo and Haidi both came to the United States from Zacateca, Mexico in search of a better life – Haidi at the age of 4 and Ricardo in his teens. Now, more than 20 years after Haidi’s family emmigrated, the couple has moved into its own home for the first time.
“Owning our own home means everything to us,” Haidi said, “because this gives our son a stable place to call home. This little guy has been our inspiration, since day one, to become homeowners and give him a real home that will help him be successful as he grows up.”
Prior to moving to Antioch, the family lived in a small apartment in Pittsburg, where Jacob shared the one bedroom with his parents, and Jose was forced to sleep on a sofa in the living room. There was very little room for storage and not much of a yard.
Ricardo is two years into a four-year apprenticeship as an ironworker in San Francisco. He plans to return to school and eventually become a foreman in the ironworker field. Since Jacob is so young, Haidi stays at home and takes care of him full-time. She finds time to volunteer at a preschool in Concord, though, and hopes to return to school (she has an associates degree in medical office administration) to earn her master’s degree. Jose, who owned his own janitorial business years ago, hopes to do so once again.
The Lozano Muro home is one of five that HEB has renovated in partnership with the City of Antioch. The Neighborhood Stabilization Program (NSP) is designed to help renovate foreclosed homes in order to help address the problems caused by the large number of abandoned properties that can create blight in neighborhoods. The NSP program is working through the City of Antioch’s Community Development Department, which has provided HEB support through a $1 million grant that will allow HEB to help renovate existing homes in Antioch.
Habitat East Bay is one of the Bay Area’s leading green affordable homebuilders. In addition to five homes in Antioch, HEB has renovated 10 foreclosed homes in Bay Point, 14 homes in Hayward and one foreclosed home in Emeryville. HEB is active in other locations throughout the East Bay, having targeted more than 55 houses for construction or renovation.
Praised for its success in creating home ownership opportunities for families with limited incomes, HEB is the largest Habitat affiliate in Northern California. It has been creating sustainable housing and revitalizing neighborhoods for more than 24 years, serving more than 350 families throughout Alameda and Contra Costa counties.
To learn more about Habitat East Bay’s work in Antioch and Contra Costa County, or to donate to the homebuilding efforts, visit www.habitateb.org or call 510-251-6304.