Building Communities. Fulfilling Dreams

Rigo Ramirez, CVHC Construction Superintendent

When Rigoberto Ramirez, fondly known as Rigo, is asked to tell how his life changed through Coachella Valley Housing Coalition, his eyes get misty and he explains, “It is both a sad and very, very happy story.”

Rigo first heard about Coachella Valley Housing Coalition and the possibility that he might be able to qualify to own a home for his family – consisting of a wife and six children – he never dreamed it could be true. “I didn’t believe I would qualify because I was earning $2.10 per hour working in the fields.”

Then he got the call saying that he did indeed qualify. “My eyes were wet from crying with happiness,” he explained adding that he still has not woken up from the “dream” that he has his home and raised his family there. “Because of this house, most of my children have gone on to college because they had a relaxing, safe environment where they could study.”

Prior to moving into their home that they helped build through CVHC’s Self-Help program, the Ramirez family “lived in very bad conditions,” Rigo explained. “we were in an eight foot by eight foot trailer, with no hot or cold water and no toilet.”

While obtaining a home of one’s own was truly a dream come true, it got even better for Rigo. “On February 13, 1988, the day I finished my house, the Housing Coalition called me and offered to train me more in construction, and soon I became the building superintendent. Now I can build any kind of house and I teach the supervisors how to instruct the families they build with.”

Rigo says, “Because CVHC gave me the opportunity to learn carpentry, I was able to afford putting my kids through school and they have had the opportunity to do even better – and they have.”

Those children, now ranging in ages from 26 to 39, have grown up and become professionals. The youngest is a Police Officer, the next is on to graduate school to become a Psychologist, the next is a Realtor, one is a counselor at Juvenile Hall, one a Parole Officer and the eldest works in the window industry.

I don’t know how to say thank you to CVHC, to God and to the government for their support in helping us to build our homes and live the American Dream by owning a home in the United States ,” said Rigo. “But I have my house, my job and I am very, very grateful to the Coachella Valley Housing Coalition for the beautiful lives my family and I now live.”