Over 200 Gather at Regional Farmworker Housing Forum

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News Date: 
May 1, 2018
Audience at Farmworker Housing Presentation


220 people gathered in Salinas to develop an Action Plan after reviewing the results of an 18-month study of farmworker housing conditions in the Salinas Valley and Pajaro Valley on April 19, 2018 at the [email protected] City Center event facility. The consultant team of California Institute for Regional Studies presented the data from an analysis of agricultural workers in the region and surveys of 420 farmworkers, 65 employers, and 32 stakeholders during harvest 2017. The California Coalition for Rural Housing described their research on best practices in the western US: case studies, sites, financing strategies, alternative types of housing, and effective regulatory reforms.

Jennifer Seeger, Assistant Deputy Director of the Division of Financial Assistance, California Department of Housing and Community Development, spoke about the new state funding from SB 2 and other programs with specific earmarks for farmworker housing.

Mayor Joe Gunter opened the Forum and Council Member Gloria de la Rosa made closing remarks and introduced Assembly member Anna Caballero, who made wrap-up comments.

Spanish interpretation was available. The presentations were projected in English and in Spanish. The schedule and Action Plan were available in Spanish.

Action Plan and Next Steps: In breakout discussion sessions, attendees discussed nearly 60 potential actions in a Draft Action Plan in the areas of suitable sites, financing, regulatory reforms, and housing types. Based on feedback at the Forum, the Action Plan was revised and will be reviewed at a follow-up meeting on May 16, 2018. Forum participants agreed that continuing regional collaboration is key to implementation. Responsibilities and timeline will be identified in the refined Action Plan.

Forum participants and press: Attendees included the mayors of Watsonville and Gonzales, Monterey County Supervisor Luis Alejo; staff from the counties of Santa Clara, San Mateo, Monterey and Santa Cruz; farmers and labor contractors from the region and Ventura County; members of the Study’s Oversight Committee, surveyors of the farmworkers; staff from Sacramento’s CA State Office of Monitor Advocate for farmworkers, US Department of Agriculture, and Monterey County Agriculture Commissioner.