Courtesy of Assemblyman Robert Rivas:
Today, Assemblymember Robert Rivas (D-Hollister) joined with Dolores Huerta, UFW President Teresa Romero and Senators Caballero, Durazo and Wiener to announce AB 1783, the Farmworker Housing Act of 2019.
AB 1783 creates a streamlined process to build farmworker housing on agricultural land, sets quality standards to ensure that the new housing is dignified and family friendly, and puts safeguards in place to protect the environment.
“We have a humanitarian crisis in our farmworker communities,” explained Assemblymember Rivas. “In rural Monterey County, in my district, one in ten students are homeless. We have 12 schools where that number is one in five. And at Sherwood Elementary in Salinas, that number is nearly 40%.”
California’s housing shortage isn’t just an urban problem; it affects rural areas, too. This is particularly true for our agricultural communities and that’s borne out of a shortage of farmworker housing. Now the shortage is impacting the health and safety of our families and education of our children.
“Too many California farmworkers suffer from horrible and inadequate housing conditions built on a farmworker housing system created in the beginning of the last century,” explained UFW President Teresa Romero. “Among the people I’ve met in the last year, there are farmworkers living in garages, multiple families in one bedroom apartments, barrack style housing, roofs so broken down that bats fly in, trailers with no air conditioning that make summer living brutal, and rents that eat up the majority of a family’s pay.”
“Now, Assemblymember Robert Rivas, the grandson of a UFW pioneer, has authored AB 1783, the Farmworker Housing Act of 2019,” continued Romero. “AB 1783 proposes two simple solutions – empower good actors to build farmworker housing quickly on the one hand, while preventing state money or benefit from supporting a flawed federal guestworker program.”
“Farmworkers are the backbone of our agricultural economy here in California. They help feed the entire country. And yet there just are not enough affordable, decent places for them to live. It’s unacceptable. We must ensure that California’s farmworkers and their children have the chance at a better life, and a brighter future,” said Rivas.
AB 1783 – The Farmworker Housing Act of 2019
· Creates a new streamlined process to build housing on agricultural land.
· Cuts red tape for new housing managed by qualified nonprofit housing organizations, and adhering to other key quality standards and environmental safeguards.
· Projects that meet the quality standards are approved through a ministerial process and not subject to a conditional use permit.
· Focuses state financial support of farmworker housing on dignified, family friendly projects.