Ex-cons build for low-income families

SANTA ANA, Calif., Sept. 16 -- Taller San Jose, a Santa Ana-based job training program, will break ground for the first project of its newly formed social enterprise, Hope Builders Inc., in September. Through a collaboration of Taller San Jose, the City of Santa Ana and Orange County Community Housing Corp.; Hope Builders Inc. will build affordable housing for first-time homebuyers in Santa Ana.

The first project will consist of three houses in Santa Ana's historic Logan barrio. Once completed, the homes will be sold via a lottery system to local residents at a subsidized cost. A groundbreaking ceremony will be held at the homebuilding site at 1012 N. Logan Street in Santa Ana on September 27, 2008 at 1:30 p.m.

Hope Builders will also enhance Taller San Jose's construction training program, Taller Tech, by employing select alumni and student apprentices as part of the construction team.

"Hope Builders will take our construction training a step further by providing employment for program graduates and real-world job experience for current students," said Shawna Smith, executive director, Taller San Jose. "It will also encourage our students and alumni to get involved in giving back to their community, while addressing a significant need for affordable housing in Santa Ana."

Hope Builders' Logan project will serve to revitalize one of Orange County's oldest neighborhoods -- with a history that spans nearly 120 years -- and one of the most economically depressed neighborhoods in Santa Ana.

The homes have been designed to maintain the historical integrity of the neighborhood, with two being two-story designs, and the third a single-story home.