Welcome home: CHIP’s sweat-equity program provides housing

by Nicte Hernandez

Leanna Pebley, a 2018 Community Housing Improvement Program (CHIP) client, became a homeowner in March by helping in the construction of her new five-bedroom Orland house. “It is such an amazing feeling to have been a part of the construction of my home,” Pebley said.

Leanna Pebley

“Whenever people are all, ‘Oh Leanna, you own a home now?’, it’s nice to say, ‘Oh, yea, we built it,’” Pebley said.

CHIP started as a partnership between Chico State and the city of Chico to help improve a small neighborhood south of campus through a housing rehab program. Since then, the nonprofit has expanded to serve seven counties including Butte, Glenn and Tehama. CHIP now assists low-income families, helping people who might otherwise lack the financial resources become homeowners through what it calls its “sweat equity” program and by providing rental and farm worker housing.

CHIP’s self-help sweat-equity program allows families to buy a home and then assigns them a contractor who oversees construction. “We had everything signed off and ready to go last February, and then we were able to start building our house,” Pebley said.

“The program has multiple floor plans,” she explained. “So for example, we got the floor plan with five bedrooms, but there are only three of us. CHIP gives us room for growth, though, so that’s nice.”

CHIP told ChicoSol that it has about 50 sweat-equity houses under construction now. Its website says the 45-year-old organization “has built more than 2,500 housing units” and has “received most of its funding from state, federal, and local government grants and contracts.”

“It’s so nice that we know how everything in the home was built and were able to be a part of those decisions, like the color of the walls,” Pebley said. “It was nice choosing that instead of having to put up with whatever color was already there.”

This story was corrected on Aug. 13 to state that Pebley’s house was built in Orland, not Chico. For more on where CHIP builds, see the reader comment below.

This story was produced by Chico State journalism major Nicte Hernandez and Tehama Group Communications (TGC) during a spring 2018 collaboration between TGC and ChicoSol.

1 thought on “Welcome home: CHIP’s sweat-equity program provides housing”

  1. Thank you so much for writing this beautiful piece on Leanna. I only want to clarify that the home was built in Orland, and not in Chico. CHIP only services rural locations within its seven county service area. In the past, CHIP did build many homes in Chico through and urban program that is no longer active.

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