Earlier this year, students from the Environmental Youth Alliance (EYA) joined the Land Use Planning Awareness (LUPA) Project to learn about the power of land use planning in the eastern Coachella Valley. The students chose to focus their efforts on raising awareness about the need for affordable housing in Coachella.

Through the LUPA Project, the students were able to learn about the relationship between income, cost of living and health. The students found that though statistics for the eastern Coachella Valley are scarce, the U.S Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) reported that between the years of 2006-2010, up to 32 percent of households in Riverside County had to use 50 percent of their monthly household income to cover their monthly housing costs, including rent and utilities.

During a LUPA Project session, the youth developed a scenario of a family of five living on a fixed income, and then the students listed all of the family’s expenses. As a result of the high housing costs, the family in the scenario had little money left over to pay for food, bills, and other expenses. The connection between housing costs and health became apparent as the youth analyzed how the family had little money left to pay for goods and services that could enhance their quality of life such as nutrition, health care and education.

A site visit to the Las Casas apartments, an affordable housing complex in Coachella built by the Coachella Valley Housing Coalition, was an instrumental part of the learning process for the students because they were able to speak with residents about their living conditions.

After conducting the site visit to the Las Casas apartments, the EYA students collaborated with Coachella Unincorporated to create a photo blog, modeled after Humans of New York (HONY). The students wanted to find a way to document the stories of residents in the affordable housing community and to to highlight the impact affordable housing has had on the lives of low-income families in the eastern Coachella Valley.

View the stories here:

“I worked in the fields driving the tractor to harvest the vegetables for more than twenty years. Before I lived here, I had to live with my boss on a ranch.”

How has living here in the Las Casas apartments changed your life?

“It’s more economical and comfortable to live here.  There’s a lot more services here.  Now I grow these flowers outside my apartment to make it look nice and it keeps me busy. My neighbors like the garden. This bush here is starting to look like a turkey.

“Yo trabaje en el campo manejando el tractor para cosechar las verduras por mas de viente años. Antes de vivir aqui, tenia que vivir en el rancho de mi jefe.”


Como ha cambiado su vida al vivir en los apartamentos de Las Casas?

“Es mas economico y  suave vivir  aqui. Hay mucho mas servicios. Ahora yo cultivo estas flores afuera de mi apartamento para que se mire bonito y tambien me da algo que hacer. Mis vecinos le gustan el jardin. Este planta aqui se esta mirando como un guajolote.

“It’s very peaceful to live here. I feel safe, and because we are farmworkers, this community has services to give us priority and to help us with our rent each month.”


How has living here in the Las Casas apartments changed your life?

“I am able to use the extra money I save from living here for my children, for my family.“

“Viviendo aqui es muy tranquilo. Me siento segura, y porque somos campesinos, esta comunidad tiene servicios de bajo ingreso que nos da prioridad y nos ayuda con la renta  cada mes.”


Como ha cambiado su vida al vivir en los apartamentos de Las Casas?

“Yo puedo usar el dinero extra que ahorro por viviendo aqui en mis ninos, y para mi familia.”

“The rent is low here for low-income families. We are able to save money from living here, money that we can use to help our children, to give them food to eat.”


How else does living in this community help your family?

“My son’s school is close to here, within walking distance. I feel safe because it is close by.”

“La renta esta baja para las familias de bajos ingresos. Nosotros podemos ahorrar dinero viviendo aqui, dinero que podemos usar para nuestros hijos, para darles comida para comer.”


En que mas le ayudado la comunidad a su familia?

“La escuela de mi hijo esta cerca de aqui, esta de la distancia de caminar. Me siento segura porque esta  la escuela esta cerca.”


How does living in the Las Casas community help your family?

“Since we moved here, there are many more opportunities for our children to study and to learn more.”

“If we had the opportunity to study here, we would. We tell our children that we will work hard so that they can study and learn.”


En que le ayudado la comunidad de Las Casas a su familia?

“Desde que nos movimos aqui, hay mas oportunidades para que nuestros hijos pueden estudiar y aprender mas.”

“Si tuvieramos la oportunidad de estudiar aqui, lo hariamos. Le decimos a nuestros hijos que nosotros trabajamos duro, para que ellos pueden estudiar y aprender mas.”

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Coachella Valley Housing Coalition

45701 Monroe Street, Suite G
Indio, CA 92201

phone 760-347-3157
fax 760-342-6466