From KEPRTV.com, “Pasco Farm Worker Housing Now Open” by Lena Vargas, 5 Apr 2011.
PASCO [WA] — It took eight years and millions in taxpayer dollars, but KEPR has learned two housing projects for migrant farm workers are now open for business. Friday was the first day it was open and the word is getting out fast.
KEPR was there Monday when a mom and her son inquired about the opening of the East Lewis Street farm worker housing project called Posada West and Posada East.
She didn’t want to go on camera, but her son Antonio Pantoja told Action News it’s not easy finding a clean, safe and affordable place to live.
“Nice, I would like to live here cause we’ve been finding like houses that were around $800 a month and we couldn’t find one until right now,” said Pantoja.
By comparison, a stay at the converted motels, SeaMar Posada East and West, costs this just $10 a day or $300 a month.
For one person, it’s $5 a day to stay in a bunk bed. Kitchens, laundry, recreation areas, and in some cases bathrooms are shared.
Hilario Moreno is one of the first to stay in the new housing facilities. He says it was a good move.
“I was at the mission for almost a year. Now I’m very happy to be in this place,” said Moreno.
SeaMar is the developer and says it invested almost $1 million of its own money to make this project a reality. The other four million or so came from you, the taxpayer, in the form of USDA and state money.
Ramon Mota runs both housing facilities. He believes the time and money were well spent to keep people from setting up camp along the river or in other substandard conditions.
Paul Fitzgerald is SeaMar’s Director of Housing. KEPR asked is he expected the project to take eight years.
“No, but one of the things in housing, especially in housing low income people, because of the difficulty in financing and the need to find multiple source of funding, it usually ends up being a very long complex process unfortunately,” said Fitzgerald.
A long process that is now over, opening new doors to farm workers who may have a difficult time finding an affordable place to live.
Together La Posada East and West can house up to 200 people. Because it was approved as temporary housing, no one can stay longer than 364 days.