Affordable Homes of South Texas, Inc. (AHSTI) provides home ownership opportunities and financial education to low-income residents of South Texas. Founded in 1976, AHSTI has provided affordable homes to over 3,800 families.
AHSTI was founded in response to a City of McAllen Planning Department survey of housing conditions in the city. Results showed many families living in substandard conditions. AHSTI made it its mission to enhance the quality of life for families in the Rio Grande Valley and surrounding areas, by providing affordable houses to low-income working families that otherwise would not qualify for a conventional bank mortgage.
AHSTI acts as a land-developer, general contractor, and full-service mortgage company. The organization also provides a multi-cultural, in-house, home-buyer education and development program to all clients.
AHSTI offers five rehab and replacement home programs: New Beginnings, Project Imagine Tomorrow, Rehab Loan Program, Amy Young Program and the Neighborhood Housing Program.
Leonor Perales, a mother of daughters ages 21, 19 and 12, was the first individual to obtain a home through the New Beginnings Program. Perales was looking for a program to repair her home when a relative told her about New Beginnings. After researching the program requirements, Perales decided to apply.
“I still cannot believe that we are the first family to benefit from this great program,” she said. “My daughters and I are very excited and grateful for the opportunity they gave us to get a house where we will would no longer have any needs.”
Mr. Mata also expressed his gratitude for the AHSTI programs. Following the death of his wife four years ago, Mr. Mata wanted to make sure his children had something of their own if anything happened to him. The couple had five children together, three of whom that had moved away, but the two youngest still lived at home. Mr. Mata and his wife always wanted to own a home, but the couple couldn’t afford it, or their credit wasn’t where it needed to be. As a result, they rented for 20 years.
Mr. Mata heard about AHSTI from a friend whose mother-in-law had just purchased her home though the program. But Mr. Mata didn’t think he was eligible. “I thought I would have to be a two-income household,” he said. “I’m a single parent. I didn’t think it would happen.”
But on Jan 13, Mr. Mata closed on his new home. “You guys made it possible. You came through for me,” he said.
AHSTI also provided 90-year-old, Victoria Zapata with a new home. Zapata had lived in the same small McAllen home that was built not long after her husband lost his life serving in World War II. Over time, the house deteriorated. Filled with mold and leaks, the old house became “too hot” for Zapata during the long Texas summers. After contacting AHSTI, Zapata now enjoys her baby blue house with central air conditioning, for which she pays only $1 a year, along with property taxes.
It’s not just the individuals who receive the new homes who experience the joys of the AHSTI programs – Bobby Cavillo, director of Affordable Homes, takes special pride in Zapata’s story. “There’s nothing better than to see Mrs. Zapata move into her house that is brand spanking new, compared to the situation she was living in before,” he said. “It’s an amazing satisfaction.”
Praxis Mutual Funds® supports organizations such as AHSTI through investments in Calvert Impact Capital, an impact-investing institution that helps people around the world through community development financing. It’s part of the Praxis commitment to place approximately 1 percent of each of its funds to benefit neighborhoods and individuals through community development investments.