The Personal Investment Enterprise (PIE) program helps working, low-income families and individuals save money for home ownership, post-secondary education and small business. For people like the Cano family, the PIE program is rewarding and life-changing. On September 12, 2013, Emiliano and Liberia Cano and their four children were asleep in their trailer next to a river where Emiliano worked. They were woken up by neighbors and told to leave, but did not take the warning as seriously as they could have. A half hour later the family woke up to find water up to their knees. They fled with only a few personal belongings. The rest, including their trailer and the car Emiliano drove to work, was destroyed.
The Cano family had to stay at a friend’s house in Longmont for weeks after the flood. Because so many people were affected by the flood, the Cano family had to share the space with three other families. In October, the family moved into a two bedroom apartment, with one child having to share a bedroom with her parents.
But the Cano family still needed to find a place that was comfortable and affordable for their whole family. They worked closely with a caseworker from the Long-Term Flood Recovery Group (sponsored by Foothills United Way) who directed them to Habitat for Humanity of the St. Vrain Valley. From there, the Cano family was introduced to the PIE program, a program hosted by Foothills United Way and Boulder County Community Action Programs. The family attended educational classes on how to save through PIE. After graduation, they qualified to purchase a four bedroom Habitat home and worked for close to a year to build the home. They contributed 500 hours of sweat equity and used their savings toward closing costs and to purchase the home. Emiliano continues to work in Lyons and their oldest son is now in his first year of college in Denver.