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Proyecto Azteca | 2019 Distinguished Women in Construction

Proyecto Azteca | 2019 Distinguished Women in Construction
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ANA ZAMARRON

Finance Director

PERLA SAUCEDA

Loan Administrator Receptionist

ANN WILLIAMS CASS

Executive Director

AMBER ARRIAGA-SALINAS

Assistant Executive Director

JANIE MUÑOZ

Family Support Assistant Director

ANA ZAMARRON

Finance Director

PERLA SAUCEDA

Loan Administrator Receptionist

ANN WILLIAMS CASS

Executive Director

AMBER ARRIAGA-SALINAS

Assistant Executive Director

JANIE MUÑOZ

Family Support Assistant Director

Our feature on the 2018 Distinguished Women in Construction would not be complete without honoring a group of women working for Proyecto Azteca, a non-profit organization based in San Juan, Texas, that provides a grassroots approach to affordable housing for the area’s poor in the rural “colonias” of the Rio Grande Valley. The women have been with Proyecto Azteca for many years, and together with other members in the organization, they work as one cohesive family towards the goal of improving the quality of life for under-privileged families in the Valley.

Proyecto Azteca was formed in 1991 as a response to the serious lack of quality housing for low-income families in 120 South Texas colonias along the Texas-Mexico border.

Ann William Cass, Executive Director of Proyecto Azteca, points out that the organization’s goals are to provide both quality homes as well as job skills, education, and leadership training so that families can get as much benefit from the home building experience as possible. Families in the Proyecto Azteca program are required to contribute at least 550 hours in building their home. This is a true Self-Help Housing Program with more far-reaching benefits than just homeownership.

Families must meet certain criteria to qualify for Proyecto Azteca’s Self Help New Construction Program. One of the first people that potential applicants meet is Perla Sauceda, Loan Administration / Receptionist. She has been with Proyecto Azteca for many years, and her job is like a vocation for her, “helping families have a decent and affordable home.” It’s a work of love for her, and her reward is having the elderly express their happiness, plus as well, the joy it brings to children knowing they are getting a home to call their own.

Ana Zamarron is Proyecto Azteca’s Finance Director. To qualify for the organization’s program, applicants must meet several requirements and demonstrate that their family income is about 30% to 50% of the area’s median annual income. Ana loves her work because she knows she is improving the lives of many families in the Valley. “What makes our organization different,” she says, “ is that we are the only non-profit in the country that finances mortgage loans at 0% interest.”

As an assistant to the Family Support Director at Proyecto Azteca, Janie Munoz is at the center of providing help to all the families in the program—working with low and very low income families who have traditionally been denied home ownership opportunities. With almost 4,000 people in the program, waiting and wishing they could enjoy the American dream of homeownership, it is heart-breaking to see a need so great and resources so few in a country as rich as ours. For Janie, and indeed for many volunteers and donors, knowing that what they are doing is helping others and making a positive impact on lives is very satisfying.

Amber Arriaga-Salinas is the Assistant Executive Director for Proyecto Azteca. At her job, meeting many families every day that have suffered for a long time, it is understandable that Amber would see the world as a difficult place. The upside for Amber is that her job, she says, “allows her to witness the best in humanity with individuals from all walks of life that open their hearts and bring such kindness to families in our organization.” She adds that Proyecto Azteca is not just about constructing a home. The organization also focuses on critical issues that affect family life in their new home: health, immigration, education, jobs, and community issues.

One important point to make about the homes built by Proyecto Azteca is that in addition to being affordable to build, the homes are also more affordable to own. Why? Because of their energy efficiency and sustainable building practices. Proyecto Azteca homes, typically priced in the $40K to $65K price range, offer more energy efficiency because in the long run, it’s not the price of the home that’s important, it’s the expense of owning that home over time that determines the true cost of ownership.

While good builders take a “whole-house” approach to home building, Proyecto Azteca goes above and beyond with a “whole-family” approach to building homes that takes into account not just the quality of the home but also the quality of life for the people who will live in it. And to make this happen, the organization relies on people like the women featured here. Without a doubt, their strengths as women give them the ability to feel empathy for the families that need help. Their caring nature and their instincts to protect life are an essential part of the organization’s culture. As a community, we should all follow their lead—it’s the right thing to do.

NOTE FROM THE PUBLISHER:

Anyone can donate to, or volunteer with, Proyecto Azteca to help low-income families in the Rio Grande Valley with their dream of home ownership. Visit their website for more information, or call (956)702-3307.

proyecto azteca, ana zamarron
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ANA ZAMARRON

Finance Director

When I’m not working… I usually spend my weekends fishing with my family.

I admire women who… are hard working and committed to making a difference in the community.

Why I love what I do: We get to improve our families’ lives by providing them with a beautiful and affordable home.

What makes us different: Our organization is different because we are the only non-profit in our county that finances mortgage loans at 0% interest.

proyecto azteca, ana zamarron
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ANA ZAMARRON

Finance Director

When I’m not working… I usually spend my weekends fishing with my family.

I admire women who… are hard working and committed to making a difference in the community.

Why I love what I do: We get to improve our families’ lives by providing them with a beautiful and affordable home.

What makes us different: Our organization is different because we are the only non-profit in our county that finances mortgage loans at 0% interest.

proyecto azteca, perla sauceda
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PERLA SAUCEDA

Loan Administration Receptionist

When I am not working… I love to spend quality time with my family.

I always say… “If it’s God’s Will.”

I admire women who… never give up on their dreams. Even though it seems impossible, they make it possible!

Our goal is… to help families have a decent and affordable home.

Why I love what I do: I love what I do because I hear testimonies from the elderly saying they are happy they have a warm home in the winter.  And the families, having a home brings joy to the children knowing they are getting a home of their own.

My charity of choice: Make a Wish Foundation.

proyecto azteca, perla sauceda
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PERLA SAUCEDA

Loan Administration Receptionist

When I am not working… I love to spend quality time with my family.

I always say… “If it’s God’s Will.”

I admire women who… never give up on their dreams. Even though it seems impossible, they make it possible!

Our goal is… to help families have a decent and affordable home.

Why I love what I do: I love what I do because I hear testimonies from the elderly saying they are happy they have a warm home in the winter.  And the families, having a home brings joy to the children knowing they are getting a home of their own.

My charity of choice: Make a Wish Foundation.

proyecto azteca, ann williams cass
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ANN WILLIAMS CASS

Executive Director

When I’m not working… I enjoy meditating and listening to music.

Best business advice I ever received: Respect all staff and work together as a team.

My motto is: The difficult we can do, the impossible will take a bit longer. — Army Corps of Engineers

I always say… own your power.

proyecto azteca, ann williams cass
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ANN WILLIAMS CASS

Executive Director

When I’m not working… I enjoy meditating and listening to music.

Best business advice I ever received: Respect all staff and work together as a team.

My motto is: The difficult we can do, the impossible will take a bit longer. — Army Corps of Engineers

I always say… own your power.

proyecto azteca, amber
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AMBER ARRIAGA-SALINAS

Assistant Executive Director

Our goal is… to bring decent and affordable homes to families in Hidalgo County so that with the families we serve, we may build healthy and thriving communities.

The thing I am most proud of: I am extremely proud of our staff. I do not know what we would do without every single person working with us. We are more than co-workers; we are a family working for and with families for a better tomorrow.

The secret to our company’s success: We work as one. We never know what the day will bring. Some days we have one problem after another pop-up, but we tackle them together, and in the same way, we celebrate the success as one.

I’ve learned from experience that… the world is a difficult place. Every day we meet families who have suffered for very long, but somehow we are blessed to find individuals from all walks of life that open their hearts and bring such kindness to our families and our organization.

People choose us because… we have a product that people not only need, but want. We know that there is great pride in homeownership, and after our families have been constantly denied, we can offer them hope to obtain their dream.

What makes us different: Proyecto Azteca is not just a construction company. We focus on all of the issues that can affect the families living under the roofs we build. We work on health, immigration, education, jobs, housing on a broad scale, and civic participation. We are about community.

proyecto azteca, amber
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AMBER ARRIAGA-SALINAS

Assistant Executive Director

Our goal is… to bring decent and affordable homes to families in Hidalgo County so that with the families we serve, we may build healthy and thriving communities.

The thing I am most proud of: I am extremely proud of our staff. I do not know what we would do without every single person working with us. We are more than co-workers; we are a family working for and with families for a better tomorrow.

The secret to our company’s success: We work as one. We never know what the day will bring. Some days we have one problem after another pop-up, but we tackle them together, and in the same way, we celebrate the success as one.

I’ve learned from experience that… the world is a difficult place. Every day we meet families who have suffered for very long, but somehow we are blessed to find individuals from all walks of life that open their hearts and bring such kindness to our families and our organization.

People choose us because… we have a product that people not only need, but want. We know that there is great pride in homeownership, and after our families have been constantly denied, we can offer them hope to obtain their dream.

What makes us different: Proyecto Azteca is not just a construction company. We focus on all of the issues that can affect the families living under the roofs we build. We work on health, immigration, education, jobs, housing on a broad scale, and civic participation. We are about community.

proyecto azteca
  • Save
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JANIE MUÑOZ

Family Support Director Assistant

I admire women who… are confident and kind, and who encourage other women to make a difference in our daily struggles in life.

Our goal is… assisting low and very low-income families who are traditionally denied home ownership opportunities, to become responsible homeowners.

I’m thankful for… being given a job that makes a difference in families—to help them find a way to live the American Dream.

What makes us different is… that we are a self-help housing program that builds communities by helping the working poor with the construction of quality, affordable houses.

proyecto azteca
  • Save
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JANIE MUÑOZ

Family Support Director Assistant

I admire women who… are confident and kind, and who encourage other women to make a difference in our daily struggles in life.

Our goal is… assisting low and very low-income families who are traditionally denied home ownership opportunities, to become responsible homeowners.

I’m thankful for… being given a job that makes a difference in families—to help them find a way to live the American Dream.

What makes us different is… that we are a self-help housing program that builds communities by helping the working poor with the construction of quality, affordable houses.

Award of Excellence in Construction

AEP Texas High-Performance Home Program:
AEP Texas Best Energy Award for Single Highest kwh Home Built

Get In Touch With Proyecto Azteca

Contact Proyecto Azteca for a private viewing of their model home, or for a consultation on having them build your new dream home.

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Proyecto Azteca Gallery

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