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Homeownership Celebrated at Zuni Pueblo Through 'Sweat Equity'

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Tomorrow, USDA Rural Development officials and Zuni Pueblo members will celebrate the completion of the first three homes through the federal agency's Rural Housing Service Self Help Program. This twelve-house project is the first Native American self-help program used in New Mexico. The homes are being constructed with the technical assistance of Little Dixie Community Action Agency.

Tony Hernandez, the national housing administrator for the agency, will join Terry Brunner, USDA Rural Development state director, to continue the National Homeownership Month celebration at Zuni Pueblo and in Gallup, New Mexico.

A new kitchen including appliances and other upgrades was included in the renovation of all of the apartments located at the Sun Valley Apartment Complex in Gallup, New Mexico.

The Zuni Housing Authority received a $279,000 grant to administer and supervise the building of the homes. Residents who have qualified for a home loan through USDA Rural Development’s direct home loan program will help each other build their homes. The labor contributed by participants is referred to as “Sweat Equity.” The savings from the reduction in labor costs allows otherwise ineligible families to own their homes.

Later in the day the Sun Valley, Hidden Valley and Piñon Hills Apartment complexes in Gallup, New Mexico will be dedicated after a yearlong remodeling project. The three complexes underwent a $5.7 million dollar renovation project that saw new furnaces, water heaters and new swamp cooler air conditioners installed. The funding also paid for electrical and interior remodeling such as refurbishment of kitchens, exterior lighting, exterior painting and landscaping.