California will annually contribute $250,000 to support three farmworker housing complexes in Napa County under legislation signed Wednesday by Governor Brown.
Napa County reported the Napa County Housing Authority will receive the money under AB 317 authored by Assemblymember Cecila Agular-Curry, D-Winters.
The authority operates the centers which are also supported by fees paid by the farmworkers and assessments Napa Valley winemakers place on themselves.
The county farmworker housing program provides seasonal affordable housing for 180 migrant workers in the three centers. Residents get three meals a day, literacy, and other training programs, all for just $23 per day total cost and rental cost of $14 per day to each occupant.
Providing 50,000 overnight stays and with at least two open yearround, the cost to operate the centers is a little over $1 million a year. About half of the money comes from the annual assessment on vineyards and the other half by the rent paid by each occupant. The centers had reported financial issues in operating and upkeep.
Until the legislation was approved, granting of state funding was considered each year.
The assessment on the winemakers must be renewed every five years. In July, grapegrowers voted overwhelmingly in favor of extending the annual assessment on vineyards, and to gradually raise the rate from $10 to $15 per acre over the coming years, to help defray the cost of housing for the county’s farm workers
“Every year, after the harvest is over, we have about 15 center residents who become homeless,” said Angel Calderon, River Ranch manager. “To me, this is truly a public health issue. This money will help keep our three centers open and continue providing housing and services to this population.”
Supervisor Alfredo Pedroza stated in the announcement, “Because of the relentless advocacy and leadership of Assemblymember Aguiar-Curry, Senator Bill Dodd, the Napa Valley Vintners, and our wine industry partners, we can continue to provide safe, sustainable and affordable seasonal housing for Napa County farmworkers.”