(SACRAMENTO) – Today, the California State Assembly passed AB 1783, legislation introduced by Assemblymember Robert Rivas (D-Hollister) that will streamline the process to build dignified, family-friendly housing for farmworkers in California. The bill passed with bipartisan support and a 59-11 vote in the Assembly. AB 1783 will now be heard in the California State Senate.
“California’s housing shortage has been particularly tough on farmworkers and their families,” said Rivas. “As the grandson of a farmworker, I grew up in farmworker housing myself. I know how critical it is that the farmworkers who help feed us and contribute to our state’s economy have a safe and decent place to call home. AB 1783 provides farmworkers and their children an opportunity for a better life.”
AB 1783, the Farmworker Housing Act of 2019, creates a new streamlined process for farmers to partner with non-profit organizations to build high-quality farmworker housing on agricultural land. It sets quality standards to ensure that the new housing is dignified and family friendly, and puts safeguards in place to protect the environment. Under AB 1783, state financial support of farmworker housing will be focused on dignified, family-oriented projects rather than a flawed federal temporary guest worker program.
“I applaud my fellow Assembly leaders for their support of this bill and their commitment to addressing the critical lack of affordable housing in rural areas,” Rivas continued. “I look forward to AB 1783 moving through the State Senate, so we may begin to alleviate the overcrowding in farmworker housing, and provide farmworkers and their families the relief they desperately need.”
“This bill is an important step forward, but it is just the beginning,” added Rivas. “AB 1783 lays the foundation for future legislation that will provide additional resources to build high-quality farmworker housing. Agricultural workers deserve a safe and decent place to live, just like every other Californian.”
Civil rights icon Dolores Huerta was on hand for the vote and praised the effort to build housing for California’s farmworkers: “I applaud Assemblyman Rivas for taking a bold stand to protect our farmworkers. He is right – our farmworker communities are facing a humanitarian crisis. AB 1783 can serve as the foundation of a broad movement to build housing for our workers.”
Assemblymember Robert Rivas (D-Hollister) represents the 30th Assembly District. This district includes the communities of Aromas, Big Sur, Chualar, Gilroy, Greenfield, Gonzales, Hollister, King City, Morgan Hill, Salinas, San Juan Bautista, Soledad, Spreckels, and Watsonville.