Changing lives through building homes | News

HANFORD — Some say it takes a village to raise a child, but in the case of Habitat for Humanity of Tulare/Kings Counties, it takes a village to build a house.

“We’re very appreciative that during such a stressful time, we’ve got such great community support and volunteers,” said Deanna Saldana, resource development director for Habitat for Humanity of Tulare/Kings Counties.

Friday marked the first day of a two-day Winter Women Build event at the organization’s first big project in the county, a four-bedroom, two-bathroom house at 403 W. Cameron St. in Hanford.

Saldana said being able to provide a decent and affordable place for a family to live is important, especially with many families struggling right now.

Volunteers like Anastasia Ochoa know the difference a home can make for a family.

Ochoa and her family were living in terrible conditions until 2013, when she and her husband were chosen to become Habitat homeowners in Visalia.

“Habitat has changed our life so much,” Ochoa said. “Because of Habitat, we were able to get out of that environment and now we have our forever home.”

Ochoa said she has so much to be thankful for — including a job at the organization — that she has taken every opportunity to volunteer at events like Winter Women Build. With all the negativity going on in the world, she said it feels good to be a part of an organization that likes to give back.

“When we became habitat owners, we gained another family,” she said.

A soon-to-be member of that Habitat family is Victor Gray, who was chosen with his wife to be the homeowners of the house on Cameron Street.