May 2003

Chris Davis

Fannie Mae Foundation Contact:
Carol Blymire

Fannie Mae Foundation Honors Peoples' Self-Help Housing with National Award for Excellence

Nonprofit Nationally Recognized for Innovation in Affordable Housing

Washington, DC/Santa Barbara, CA, May 15, 2003—The Fannie Mae Foundation honored Peoples' Self-Help Housing (PSHH) with the Foundation's Maxwell Award of Excellence for Affordable Housing at a ceremony held in Washington, D.C. this week. PSHH was one of six nonprofit organizations nationally honored at the event. PSHH, which serves Santa Barbara, Ventura, and San Luis Obispo Counties, will receive a $50,000 grant for its work in rehabilitating the Dahlia Court Apartments in the city of Carpinteria. This is PSHH third Maxwell Award.

Prior to the renovation of Dahlia Court, Many area residents, especially low-wage farm workers, had little access to decent affordable homes and settled for substandard housing. For example, residents of the 54-unit Dahlia Court Apartments lived with plumbing and electrical problems, overflowing trash, mold, rodents, and roaches for several years. Seventy-five percent of the residents suffered from serious health problems including asthma, bronchial infections, and hypertension, and the tenants were often victims of illegal rent gouging.

PSHH addressed the residents' housing needs by purchasing the property and rehabilitating the complex. Over a two-year period, PSHH offered tenants renovated apartments for lower rents. Renovated units were enlarged to accommodate larger families, decreasing overcrowding. The new Dahlia Court complex now offers an on-site health clinic, community kitchen, classroom and meeting space, courtyard, garden, and three playgrounds. Residents completed the landscaping themselves.

"Peoples' Self-Help Housing has addressed a critical need in the Santa Barbara area has made an invaluable contribution to the affordable housing shortfall in California," said Stacey D. Steward, President and CEO of the Fannie Mae Foundation. "We are pleased to honor PSHH's work and are inspired by its commitment to the residents of Santa Barbara County."

Created in 1988, the Foundation's Maxwell Awards program seeks to reward the outstanding work of nonprofit organizations that develop and maintain affordable housing in urban, metropolitan, and rural communities across the country. The awards are named in honor of David O. Maxwell, who retired in 1991 after 10 years of service as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Fannie Mae. The winners are selected for their outstanding work in the areas of home ownership, rental, special needs and this year's special category-affordable housing preservation.

This year, the Fannie Mae Foundation awarded Maxwell grants of $50,000 to six nonprofit organizations recommended by an independent advisory committee as having produced the best examples of affordable housing projects during the eligibility period. Maxwell Award winners' case studies will be posted on Knowledgeplex (www.knowledgeplex.org).

The Fannie Mae Foundation creates affordable home ownership and housing opportunities through innovative partnerships and initiatives that build healthy, vibrant communities across the United States. The Foundation, a private nonprofit organization supported solely by Fannie Mae, has regional offices in Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Pasadena, and Philadelphia. For more information on the Foundation, please visit www.fanniemaefoundation.org