Next summer six families will move into brand new homes they helped build in Oxnard's neighborhood of La Colonia.
But the celebration of the six-home Habitat for Humanity project begins Saturday. Officials have invited the community to join the selected families in a groundbreaking ceremony at 9 a.m. at the project site, 125 N. Hayes Avenue.
The two- and three-bedroom homes are affordable units, costing the families less than $250,000.
"In Ventura County, overall, there's a tremendous need for affordable housing," said Steve Dwyer, executive director of Habitat for Humanity of Ventura County. "Our mission is to provide safe, decent, affordable homes for purchase."
The $1.8 million project has been subsidized through partnerships with agencies like Gold Coast Health Plan, which donated $75,000 for the project. The grant is part of a Community Health Investments program that supports improvements to health care access, food security and neighborhood environments.
A housing nonprofit such as Habitat for Humanity may not be a traditional partner for health care agencies but that is starting to change, said Dale Villani, chief executive officer of Gold Coast Health Plan, a public agency serving Ventura County Medi-Cal members.
"There's a fair number of homeless people in Ventura County and many of them are actual members of Gold Coast Health Plan," Villani said. "We like our members to have safe and healthy homes to live in."
Villani said there are many factors in determining a person's health and they include a healthy living environment.
"Health care is really looking at the whole person," he said.
The health plan grant, totaling $1.5 million, was awarded to 16 local organizations including FOOD Share, Brain Injury Center of Ventura County and Mixteco Indigena Community Organizing Project. There were 23 groups that applied for the grant.
"We were very pleased to see a company with the presence of Gold Coast clearly making that link between investing in the health of a family to improving the community over time," Dwyer said.
The La Colonia project also received support from the city of Oxnard, Department of Housing and Urban Development, St. Maximilian Kolbe Catholic Church, West Coast Air Conditioning, Ventura County Community Development Corporation and Ventura County Housing Trust Fund.
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