California grants support farmworker homeownership
Governor Gavin Newsom of California, the state with some of the highest living costs nationwide, announced the awarding of $16 million in grants to increase local farmworker homeownership.
Grants will support five programs statewide to build or purchase homes for lower-income farmworkers and advance programs that help them become or remain homeowners through mortgage assistance.
The cost of living in California is 39% higher than the national average, including costs of housing, utilities, food, and health, among others.
“California isn’t California without our farmworkers – not only are they our state’s economic backbone, but they help us produce over a third of our country’s vegetables and three-quarters of the country’s fruits and nuts. Our farmworkers have our backs – now it’s time we have theirs,” says Governor Newsom.
“These grants will help make the California dream a reality for dozens of farmworkers by helping them become homeowners – and help them lay a foundation for future generations to build upon.”
The Department of Housing and Community Development awarded grants through Joe Serna, Jr. Housing Grant program to advance homeownership development projects, self-help technical assistance projects, mortgage assistance programs, and programs for the acquisition of manufactured housing for agricultural workers.
San Mateo County will receive $5 million to purchase 28 manufactured housing units of which 18 will be prioritized for those displaced from the Half Moon Bay farm shooting in January.
The remaining units will target extremely low-income households and displaced households from dilapidated housing conditions.
Fresno County will also receive $5 million through the California Center for Cooperative Development (CCCD), destined to prevent lower-income farmworker displacement from mobile home parks, and/or communities, by helping qualified homeowners purchase their sites.
Santa Maria will be granted $4,004,000 to be used for a homeownership development project and technical assistance for self-help housing.
The development project will have 49 total homes with 40 of those being affordable for people at 40-80% of area mean income (AMI); of these, 16 homes will be reserved for farmworker families.
Watsonville will get $1,202,500 through the Habitat For Humanity Monterey Bay which will assist five units with funding under the First-time Homebuyer Mortgage Assistance Program and Technical Assistance for Self-Help Housing Grant.
The remaining $999,370 will be granted to Kern, Madera, and Merced counties through Self-Help Enterprises which will provide first-time homebuyer mortgage assistance.
The program will assist 10 low-income, and/or very low-income, farmworker families at or below 80% AMI. Funds to individual homeowners will be in the form of loans.