By Tracy Correa
CLOVIS – About 300 people came together early Thursday (Sept. 12) morning to celebrate the accomplishments and push for continued support for Habitat for Humanity Fresno County at the organization’s annual breakfast.
The event – titled, Building Homes. Building Communities. Building Hope. – provided a forum for families helped by Habitat to tell their stories and supporters to call for more community support to help build homes for families in need.
PG&E sponsored the breakfast at the Clovis Veterans Memorial Building and has been a supporter of Habitat for Humanity throughout its service territory.
This year, the utility committed $155,000 to the Fresno chapter that will provide homes with solar electric systems and help with neighborhood revitalization efforts.
Habitat’s life-changing impact
During the breakfast, Sareang Nhim talked about the impact the program has had on her family. She broke down in tears as she recalled how her nine-member family once lived in a 2-bedroom, 2-bath home in a crime-ridden neighborhood where it wasn’t safe to be outside. She said being selected for a Habitat Home — that they helped build — provided her family with more than just a new place to live.
“Living in a Habitat home not only has given us a sense of security… but, also allows us to focus on our lives and our future,” said Nhim, who now attends Fresno City College. “I want to thank each and every one of you for making so many dreams come true. You have no idea the impact you have had.”
PG&E’s Angela Vega, community relations representative, talked about the utility’s ongoing commitment to Habitat. She said $125,000 of PG&E’s total contribution this year will go toward funding a first-of-its-kind partnership for 10 solar homes in Fresno County that “extends the resources of our non-profit partners and contributes to a healthier environment for us all.”
Additionally, PG&E is providing $25,000 to revitalize distressed properties as part of Habitat’s Neighborhood Revitalization Initiative. The program will transform troubled properties into housing for working families and rejuvenate troubled neighborhoods into safe and inviting places for its current residents.
A Habitat video provided a look at some of these troubled neighborhoods – areas without parks for children to play safely and laden with liquor stores instead of grocery stores — that Habitat hopes to change. “We just believe that quality housing, having a neighborhood that’s walkable and safe, is a basic human right,” said Habitat’s Sabrina Kelley.
Ongoing support critical
Church leaders and supporters also used the occasion to ask for community support to help continue Habitat’s mission. They also presented an award to Tony Miranda, Habitat’s executive director, who reminisced about how the local chapter has grown from when he arrived here 16 years ago. He also highlighted projects under development or that will start construction soon in Fresno County.
PG&E has an ongoing commitment to support Habitat and bring solar to Habitat homes.
The Solar Habitat Program is a partnership between PG&E and Habitat for Humanity International to fund the full cost of solar electric systems on every Habitat-built home in northern and central California. This first-of-its-kind partnership brings solar energy to families with limited incomes in underserved communities.
PG&E has since provided more than $8 million dollars to fund the full cost of solar electric systems on more than 350 Habitat-built homes for families with limited incomes. Each solar panel generates nearly 300 kWh of clean, renewable energy each month, saving families approximately $500 a year on energy costs.
E-mail Tracy Correa at Tracy.Correa@pge.com