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Program helps low income residents hand build and buy new Orland homes?

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ORLAND, Calif. - Thanks to the Community Housing Improvement Program, or CHIP, nine families moved into their brand new homes, Wednesday.

Each of the new homeowners put in 30 hours every week for the last year to build the homes themselves on Jacquelyn Drive in Orland. 

Now, less than two weeks before Christmas, Mayra Jimenez and her 6-year-old son got a 1,200 square-foot present. "He woke up this morning and he's like mom, today is move in day, and I'm like, it is," Jimenez explained. "And he's like do I have to go to school? And i'm like yes, you still have to go to school."

After dropping him off, Jimenez moved them into the brand new home she started to build last November with zero prior construction experience.

Jimenez did it with the help of CHIP. It's a local nonprofit organization that helps families build a three to five bedroom $200,000 home with an affordable monthly payment based on their income and no down payment.

"The hours that you're out there building count as your down payment," Jimenez explained. 

All of the homes in the Villa La Michelle community Jimenez moved into were hand built by the homeowners in the CHIP program. There are 38 homes in this particular subdivision, with 21 more coming.

The requirements to qualify include making 80 percent or less than the median income for the county and decent credit. Then there's a process to ensure the organization picks the best candidates. 

"It's really exciting to see them since the beginning, qualifying for the loan and then when they start building to now, it's their own house," explained Raquel Calva. She works as the self help loan packager for CHIP but 20 years ago she was building her own home as a CHIP client. 

"It was wonderful," Cava explained. "I moved in before Christmas also, so Christmas was special because we had our own home."

Working hard all year around, but now, they're home for the holidays! "It's exciting," Jimenez said.

For more information and to apply for CHIP, click here. 

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