CENTRAL COAST, Calif. (KION) Monterey County officials are working towards an expediting permitting program for Employer-Sponsored Farmworker Housing.
With this program, the county expects to address the needs of the agriculture workforce.
“You have agricultural production contrasted with the high cost of housing that makes it even harder for people to not only work but maintain their employment because you can’t keep up with escalating costs of housing,” President of Grower-Shipper Association Chris Valdez.
Lauro Barajas, the United Worker Regional Director on the Central Coast said that housing is challenging for everyone in our region. In many cases, several families live under one roof because it is the only way they can make it work.
"With 14 dollars, you're not able to afford and purchase the same things a doctor, a layer, teacher," said Baraja. "They are paid more. It's good that they're earning enough. But for all these people who feed the whole country. They're not valued and there is just not enough being done to find ways on how to better their way of living."
There are currently 136 permitted facilities countywide, with more than 1,500 units. The projects built so far are the most beautiful and dignified employer-sponsored housing anywhere in the United States. But, Baraja said he also has a few concerns.
"First of all, how will the quality of housing look like, how many people would be in a unit and three I don't think it's worth exchanging your freedom for a price," said Baraja.
The County expects to release more details in two weeks. According to the county, the process to obtain a permit would be reduced by six months or up to a year.