Building Communities. Fulfilling Dreams

Julie Bonds

Julie Bonds understands all too well the conection between where you live and how you feel about yourself, your life, and your options. In 1996, this mother of four was living in cramped, deteriorating housing in Mecca, Calif. Living like this, "You kind of feel down and don't think you can ever get anywhere," Julie says. She wanted to raise her family in a cleaner, safer environment but didn't know where to being. Then she found the Coachella Valley Housing Coalition (CVHC).

With CVHC's help, Julie moved herself and her children to Nueva Vista, then a newly-construted affordable housing complex developed and owned by CVHC. When she moved, Julie says, "it changed a lot of things. It really changes your outlook on life. Once I felt that my family was in a secure community, I felt that I could do even more to make a better life for them."

Today, Julie works as an OB technician at a local hospital, and she and her children live in four-bedroom home in Paseo de los Poetas, another CVHC community. She is in the process of building her own home through the organization's Self-Help Housing program, through which low-income families work together to build their houses and use their "sweat equity" as the down payment. As Julie discovered, "it really is sweat equity because you really have to sweat -- it's very hard."

Julie no longer dreams of doing better for herself and her family. With CVHC's help, she is. She's grateful for the opportunities that CVHC has provided for her. "If it wasn't for them," says Julie, "I don't know where I'd be right now."