From OPB.org, Oregon Public Broadcasting, Anna King, 1 Sept 2011.
Listen to the audio report: Cramped Housing for Farmworkers
RICHLAND, Wash. – A new study says increasing numbers of families in Walla Walla County are living in overcrowded conditions.
Brien Thane is the executive director of the Washington Farmworker Housing Trust based in Olympia. He says the results of their organization’s study show that Walla Walla County’s housing market is tight, and there are a growing number of laborers.
That’s because the southeast county is seeing an increase in tree fruit orchards. Thane says fruit trees require more labor than crops like wheat that are harvested with large machinery.
“We need a stable, healthy, thriving workforce to sustain our agricultural economy,” Thane says.
He says farmworkers helped interview other farmworkers, to make subjects more comfortable and get accurate data.
Thane says studies were done also in Yakima and Skagit counties. He says similar conditions for farmworkers exist in those two counties as well.
On the Web: Washington Farmworker Housing Trust: http://www.farmworkerhousingtrust.org/