Housing, Research and Studies

County Will Fund Study of Farmworker Housing

From NapaValleyRegister.com, Peter Jensen, 9 Jan 2012.

Napa County’s housing director is asking the Board of Supervisors to spend about $110,000 to study the housing needs of farmworkers in the Napa Valley.

The board is slated to vote on the proposal at its meeting Tuesday, and the money would come from the county’s affordable housing fund.

The study would look at:

  • How many farm workers are employed in Napa County;
  • Whether they’re in the valley full-time or seasonally;
  • Where they live in the county, or if they and their families live outside of the county and commute;
  • How much they’re willing to spend on rent or mortgages; and
  • How immigration policies are affecting the labor market for farm workers.

Larry Florin, director of the county’s Housing and Intergovernmental Affairs Department, said the study will be used by vineyard owners who tax themselves $10 per planted acre to support affordable housing for their farm workers.

The last study, completed in April 2007, is outdated due to the drastic economic changes that have occurred since then. The county would use the study to guide how it loans money from the affordable housing fund.

It could guide the next five to 10 years of decision-making on how to supply housing to farmworkers, Florin said.

That $10-per-acre tax is up for a renewal vote in June, and Florin said the owners will need the study to determine whether to renew it and if they need to pursue a higher taxing rate to supply more affordable housing.

State law sets the $10-per-acre rate, so they would need to lobby lawmakers in Sacramento to raise it, Florin said.

Florin said he hopes to have preliminary results from the study by June, with final results by fall. The county would contract with Bay Area Economics and California Human Development Corporation to conduct the study.

Source: NapaValleyRegister.com, “County will fund study of farmworker housing” by Peter Jensen, 9 Jan 2012.

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