After reviewing 52 applications and conducting 31 in-person interviews, a Napa family has been selected to own the first Solano-Napa Habitat for Humanity home in the county.
Roberto Hernandez and Viviana Trejo received the news in late-October, and soon told their children, Jaydon, Allyson, and Roberto’s mother Evangelina, who will live in the home with them.
“I knew in that moment our life had changed forever,” said Viviana, who said her son asked them, “Of all the people, why did they choose us?”
After the public orientation meeting in March, the organization’s Family Services Committee underwent a rigorous review process before choosing the family. Applicants had to demonstrate a need for better housing and be able to meet income/payment requirements on the new home. The selected family must also put in hundreds of sweat equity hours and pay a no-interest mortgage on the home.
Viviana Trejo, a lifelong Napa resident, has extended family in the area. Roberto Hernandez is originally from the Los Angeles area, and moved to Napa with his mother for a job opportunity. He has worked full-time at Central Valley’s builder supply store in Napa for the past five years.
Trejo works part-time at the Napa Valley College’s upper campus as an admissions clerk and is taking college coursework to complete her social worker certificate program. Evangelina Hernandez works part-time at Celadon in Napa and also helps care for the children. The family of five currently lives in an apartment near Browns Valley.
“This is truly a dream come true for our family, a dream we didn’t think was possible any time soon,” said Roberto. “More than anything else I think about my children. Owning a home means I can provide for them, and for their future.”
The three-bedroom home is being built on a plot of land on Saratoga Drive in east Napa. The project is the first home built in Napa County by Habitat for Humanity, known internationally for its mission of building strength, stability, and self-reliance through shelter.
“It’s so rewarding to finally meet the family and see the faces of the children who will live in the home,” said Kathleen de Vries, development director. “Roberto and Viviana are gracious people and are genuinely excited for this opportunity. We are thankful for all the donors and sponsors whose generosity will help make this dream of homeownership come true for a very deserving family.”
Funding for the Napa home has come from a variety of sources, including individual donations, corporate sponsorships, and grants. In 2015, the organization was the recipient of funds raised at Sen. Bill Dodd’s annual Holiday Party, and most recently, Queen of the Valley Medical Center became the organization’s Principal Community Partner, pledging funds to help complete the Napa home.
“Housing is a critical need in our community, and it is one of many social factors that can affect the health of our neighbors,” said Dana Codron, executive director of Community Outreach at Queen of the Valley Medical Center. “Queen of the Valley is proud to support Solano-Napa Habitat for Humanity in building their first home here in our valley for the Hernandez/Trejo family. This is an important step toward helping low-income families in Napa who face housing insecurities.”
Solano-Napa Habitat for Humanity is promoting its “Team Habitat Experience” to local businesses who are looking for ways to team build and volunteer with their employees. Through this program, companies are asked for a minimum donation of $1,000 and to recruit a team of volunteers to build together at the Napa construction site.
The Hernandez/Trejo family has already begun working their sweat equity hours, and alongside volunteers, helped raise the first walls on the home last Saturday. The children were also eager to help by showing off pictures of the puppy and kitten they hope to get once they become homeowners.
“It feels like we’ve won the lottery and we’re starting a new journey onto bigger and better things,” said Roberto. “It also feels like we’ve joined a new family, the Habitat family.”
For more information on the Napa home project, Team Habitat Experiences, sponsorship and donation opportunities, or to volunteer, call the office at (707) 422-1948 or visit www.solanonapahabitat.org.