While in California last week, U.S. Department of Agriculture Under Secretary Lisa Mensah toured a self-help housing tract that Self-Help Enterprises is developing in Merced County and visited with a family that is a recipient of USDA funds. Representative Jim Costa (D-CA) was also on the tour.
Under Secretary Mensah and Congressman Costa met with the Cabrera family, of Madera, California, who have spent the past two years without running water. According to Tom Collishaw, the President and CEO of Self-Help Enterprises, the Cabreras are one of around 2,000 families in the rural Central Valley who are suffering from water shortages due to drought. For the past two years, the Cabreras were forced to buy water to do basic tasks such as wash dishes and flush toilets, and to go to their children’s home to shower. The Cabrera family, with help from Self-Help Enterprises, secured USDA funding, which includes a grant for a new electrical panel and a much needed loan to finance a new water well. The Cabreras now have running water through a temporary water tank, and a permanent water well will be installed sometime in February. For more information on the Under Secretary’s trip and the Cabreras, please read Dale Young’s article from ABC 30 Action News and Gregory Woods’ article on Yourcentralvalley.com.