(SACRAMENTO) – Today, the California State Senate Housing Committee passed AB 1783, legislation introduced by Assemblymember Robert Rivas (D-Hollister) that creates a streamlined process to build dignified, family-friendly housing for farmworkers in California. The bill passed with a vote of 7 - 3 and now heads to the Senate Governance and Finance Committee.
“This is a humanitarian crisis, and I believe we have a moral responsibility to act,” explained Assemblymember Robert Rivas, who himself grew up in farmworker housing. “AB 1783 helps make it easier for farmers and non-profit organizations to build dignified, family-friendly housing for the workers who keep us fed and help drive our agricultural communities and state economy. I thank the members of the committee for their support and implore more Senators to step up to make this opportunity a reality for our farmworker families.”
"The United Farm Workers applauds Assembly Member Robert Rivas and Senator Scott Wiener on their leadership of including the needs of farm workers in state housing policy,” said Teresa Romero, President of the United Farm Workers. “AB 1783 will incentivize the construction of affordable family housing for farm workers while banning the use of state funds to advance the Trump Administration's backwards immigration policies.”
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.
“The 2018 Farmworker Study & Action Plan for the Salinas Valley and Pajaro Valley confirmed that agricultural workers are living in severe overcrowded conditions,” explained Alfred Diaz-Infante, President of Community Housing Improvement Systems and Planning Association Inc. (CHISPA). “CHISPA appreciates that Assembly Member Robert Rivas is taking steps that will help affordable housing developers build affordable housing for agricultural workers in a more expedited manner. This is something that is really needed in our region given that the current housing crisis has had a greater impact on low-income farmworkers and their families.”