Building Communities. Fulfilling Dreams

Jose Guadalupe and Maria del Rosario Zaragoza

Mr. Jose Guadalupe Zaragoza were approved for a new three-bedroom, 1,280-square-foot house in a special program designed by the Coachella Valley Housing Coalition for families who are being displaced as the County closes down unpermitted mobile home parks in Riverside County. This is their first house since they came to the United States almost thirty years ago.

At the age of fourteen Jose Guadalupe and his extended family came to the United States in 1976 from Guanajuato, Mexico. The Zaragozas came with the hope of finding a better future for themselves. He was the eldest son with seven sisters and six brothers. He had to work immediately to help his parents support such a large family.

"I never complained to my parents for having me start to work at such young age," Mr. Zaragoza said. "I thank my parents for having the courage to leave everything they had ever known and bringing us here where at least we had food to eat. I was the last of my siblings to get married; I had to make sure they were all well taken care of," Mr. Zaragoza explained while his wife Maria del Rosario smiled at him with great pride.

"He has always been a very responsible brother and father," continued his wife. "He makes sure that Juan Carlos (20 years of age), Jose Guadalupe Jr. (19 years of age), Isabel (13 years of age) and Alma Dennis (9 years of age) get as much out of school as they possibly can."

Mr. Zaragoza is especially proud of his oldest son Juan Carlos who lives in Mexico and just made the Atlante Team - a professional soccer team.

"These all belong to my son!" Mr. Zaragoza says proudly as he poses for a picture with his family next to a small table filled with trophies. "It's been hard helping Juan Carlos to stay in Mexico but it will be easier now that he made his dream soccer team. They will pay him a decent salary to play for them. I can't wait until he sees our new house."

When asked if they would missed anything from where they used to live, Mrs. Zaragoza quickly and loudly said, "No! Did you see that small house in back of ours? Three men lived there. They showered outside." Mrs. Zaragoza continued by saying that, "Because of that my two daughters were not allowed to go outside after they came home from school." Their one-room 400-square-foot home showed signs of this reality. The family had divided and converted their already small kitchen into a bedroom for their two daughters, while Jose Guadalupe Jr. slept in the kitchen. "I woke them up (with the noise) every morning at 3:30 am when I would get up to make our lunches," Mrs. Zaragoza says. Despite the extreme desert heat, the Zaragoza house featured only a small swamp cooler. For electricity, the Zaragozas shared power with their nine neighbors, resulting in blown fuses and light bulbs at least twice a week.

The Zaragozas are very happy and exited to move into the city of Coachella where they will be closer to their family. The Zaragozas show daily their excitement and appreciation to CVHC for helping them achieve the "American Dream" of homeownership. Jose Guadalupe, Maria del Rosario and their children moved into their new house in the Cachanillas subdivision in the middle of June 2004.