SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KION) Assemblymember Robert Rivas announced that he has submitted a $25 million budget request to fund temporary housing for sick or exposed agricultural workers during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The request would expand on Gov. Gavin Newsom's "Project Roomkey" and guarantee at least 3,000 rooms for three months, which he said could benefit as many as 40,500 workers.
“The inability for farmworkers to socially distance because of overcrowded housing conditions places these essential workers at greater risk for contracting and spreading COVID-19, especially since many lack reliable
access to testing and quality health care. In fact, there have already been COVID-19 outbreaks among agricultural workers in such places as South Dakota, Nebraska, and Pennsylvania. A similar outbreak here in California would threaten our State’s food supply chain at a critical time," Rivas said.
Rivas said the request is part of a COVID-19 relief package focused on farmworkers that he introduced with Assemblymember Eduardo Garcia. He said it would expand workplace safety guidance, a bilingual campaign to educate workers about how to protect themselves, expand telehealth in rural areas and a tax credit for farmers who offer overtime work.
Read Rivas' budget request below.