Farm worker housing funds

09/15/2011

The Marin Community Foundation (MCF) has established a $750,000 grant with the Marin Workforce Housing Trust (MWHT) for a new farm worker housing initiative. The majority of the money will go towards a cooperative pilot program that would work with individual ranchers to refurbish or construct new structures to serve as family-friendly rental units on farm properties. The remaining $250,00 will go into an enhancement account to generate additional funds. “We believe rather strongly that … farm workers and ranchers are enormous contributors to the health and economy of Marin,” said Thomas Peters, president and CEO of the MCF. “We’ve been concerned that the quality of housing for farm workers is minimal. It’s substandard.” Linda Wagner, the executive director of the MWHT, hopes the pilot will prove successful and expandable to more than the first few ranches and dairies. “It is important to maintain the sustainability of a major part of our county,” Wagner said. “Having successful agricultural operations in many cases requires that the workers work and live [on the farms.]”