Providing temporary housing to agricultural workers exposed to COVID-19
The California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) today announced that Santa Barbara County has joined Housing for the Harvest, a new program announced by Governor Gavin Newsom last month to provide temporary hotel housing options for farm and food processing employees to self-isolate if they are COVID-19 positive and do not require hospitalization, or have been exposed and cannot properly self-isolate at home.
The state is securing hotel rooms in participating counties like Santa Barbara, with local governments identifying administrators to manage the program and local community organizations to provide additional services, like meals, wellness checks and in-language assistance. Local administrators will serve as a point of contact for eligible workers. Local administrators or the program can include a county or city agency, a Native American tribe, a non-profit organization, or a philanthropic organization.
Santa Barbara County’s Department of Public Health will partner with the local Family Service Agency to manage the program. Santa Barbara is the third local partner to participate in Housing for the Harvest, which launched last week in the counties of Fresno and San Joaquin.
“This program is essential to protect the health of our agricultural workers, their families and local communities, as well as the continuity of our food supply,” said CDFA Secretary Karen Ross. “We welcome Santa Barbara County to this effort and look forward to expanding the program across the state.”
Housing for the Harvest will ultimately be made available statewide and provide opt-in housing support for any counties or regions that are interested. California has received FEMA approval for this program during the COVID-19 pandemic and will seek federal reimbursement for 75 percent of hotel costs.
“Santa Barbara County has long benefited from the contributions of the agricultural community. Agriculture is one of the County’s cornerstones and in these unprecedented times, Housing for the Harvest provides critical support towards the mitigation of COVID-19’s spread amongst farmworkers, food processors, and their families. Family Service Agency is a wonderful collaborative partner engaging with us to ensure the agricultural community’s essential workers stay safe during the pandemic,” said Van Do-Reynoso, Director of the Santa Barbara County Public Health Department.
“COVID-19 has had a profound impact on our farmworkers and food processors. We rely so much on these essential workers and the Housing for the Harvest Program will ensure our agricultural community continues to have access to basic needs while staying safe. We are pleased to collaborate with the Santa Barbara County Public Health Department to bring this important program to our county,” said Lisa Brabo, Executive Director of Family Services Agency.
Farmworkers or food processing workers in Santa Barbara County who are in need of these services are urged to call Family Service Agency at (805) 325-5341. Please note that personal information gathered through this process will be kept confidential.
If a county or community organization is interested in becoming a regional administrator, they may email firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information on Housing for the Harvest, please visit our website.