Housing / Land Use

CSDC building interest list for self-help housing project

Located at the old hospital site on Southside Road, houses in the Riverview II project will be constructed by participating low-income families with onsite supervision.
Provided by CSDC.
Provided by CSDC.

Two years after demolition began at the old hospital site on Southside Road, the Community Services Development Corporation (CSDC) is now building an interest list for low-income housing that will be constructed by homeowners on the property.

Known as self-help housing, the program will group eight to 12 families together to help each other build their houses with onsite supervision and guidance of CSDC construction staff.

“They get training, do 65% of construction on the homes from framing, painting, to learning to set tile,” said Sonny Flores, executive director of CSDC. “Remaining items like electrical and HVAC are contracted out, plumbing, things that are more technical.”

According to the CSDC website, the program uses labor hours—also called sweat equity—as down payments on the new homes. CSDC assists applicants with securing loans, which are made affordable through special financing through the state and the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Participants can choose from three- and four-bedroom floor plans, which include a dishwasher and range, garage, landscaped front yard, and energy-efficient features.

There will be an upcoming formal application process and lottery for low-income families to join the program, with actual building not expected to take place until November or early Spring 2021. Final map approval for the project is expected to go before the San Benito County Board of Supervisors in August, but CSDC is working to get there in June, Flores said.

Main qualifications include having good credit status, though no credit may be acceptable according to the CSDC website; stable income from employment and other sources of income; income that does not exceed eligibility guidelines; ability and willingness to meet the labor requirement; main applicant must be a permanent resident or U.S. citizen. Estimated eligible income limits are as follows:

Courtesy of CSDC website.
Courtesy of CSDC website.

Self-help housing isn’t a new concept for San Benito County. Seventeen years ago, South County Housing developed Riverview I in collaboration with CSDC. Two recent self-help housing projects are Hillview I and Hillview II, located between Buena Vista Road and West Graf Road in the northwest portion of town.

“It really offers the opportunity for home ownership for those folks outside of staying in multi-family housing,” Flores said. “It creates a community and home where folks don’t have to worry about moving.”

For more information on Riverview II, visit ​selfhelpsanbenito.com.


BenitoLink Staff