Visionary Home Builders of California, Inc. (VHB) is a nonprofit housing developer dedicated to creating and advocating for healthy, vibrant and safe affordable housing communities. Under the leadership of CEO Carol Ornelas, the VHB team has a passion to serve families, seniors, veterans and individuals with low and moderate incomes.
Founded in 1983, VHB developed their first community to provide affordable housing and an improved living environment for farm workers. That first successful community encouraged VHB to develop new affordable housing. Now a leader throughout California’s Central Valley, VHB’s communities offer every child and adult access to safe, decent, affordable housing, educational training and learning opportunities.
“We are proud to have now built more than 25 communities — yet our core values have not changed,” Ornelas says. “We strengthen neighborhoods through building affordable housing in the toughest neighborhoods that no other developer would consider. Our road to success has not been easy, but it has been rewarding.”
With communities from Sacramento to Fresno bringing millions of dollars into the Central Valley, VHB has built more than 700 single-family homes and developed more than 1,400 units of rental housing. Homeownership — the American dream — continues to be one of their main goals.
For more than 15 years, Sisler and Sisler Construction has been a key collaborator with VHB in bringing these communities to life. This Sacramento-based design-build construction and management company has now been VHB’s partner on 15 projects. President Kenneth Sisler says, “VHB’s commitment to providing first-class communities that improve the social and financial position of local families is unmatched. There is no greater reward for a builder than working on projects that improve a community. Our partnership with VHB has provided us that opportunity, and Sisler and Sisler is extremely grateful to be a part of VHB’s success over the years.”
One such example where VHB and Sisler and Sisler have collaborated is an exciting new project, Liberty Square. Together they are transforming a vacant commercial building into 74 affordable rental housing units that will provide housing for veterans and low-income families. This three-story, mixed-use development offers combinations of studios, one-, two- and three-bedroom units, as well as 10,000 square feet of social service office space, solar energy, energy-efficient appliances, a computer lab/community center, a daycare, a teen center and a central laundry facility available on all floors. Close to local transit and other social services, the development will be well suited to veteran residents.
VHB oversees each property as part of its commitment to maintaining integrity of structure and strengthening communities. To create a sense of community, onsite VHB property managers work closely with residents who benefit from well-maintained surroundings and enjoy amenities such as Head Start programs, community centers, basketball courts, computer labs and playgrounds. VHB’s new green communities feature energy-efficient appliances, sustainable materials and environmentally approved products, as well as solar energy.
VHB communities also provide educational programming in both Spanish and English. Courses include homebuyer education and counseling, rental counseling and financial education. Housing coaches help participants understand course material and establish a plan of action. “Our courses have set countless people on the road to successful homeownership or transitions to rentals, as well as having helped establish life-changing financial habits,” Ornelas says.
VHB communities are planned and developed with the goal of improving the surrounding neighborhood, as well as enriching the lives of each tenant. “Our services to tenants and the community set our communities apart from other developments,” Ornelas says. “Along with our partner organizations, we utilize a familystrengthening approach to improve the living environment, health, social, educational and economic outcomes of entire families, not just individuals.
“We are the hope and the solution for countless Central Valley individuals and families — and welcome community support so we can continue our critical work of developing and managing affordable housing communities,” Ornelas says. “We remain committed to building homes for the people that occupy your heart — your family.”