The California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) today announced that the counties of Kings, Riverside and Tulare will participate in Housing for the Harvest, a program announced by Governor Gavin Newsom in July 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. Six counties are now participating in Housing for the Harvest: Kings, Riverside, Tulare, Santa Barbara, Fresno, and San Joaquin.
The state is securing hotel rooms in participating counties, 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 of the program can include a county or city agency, a Native American tribe, a non-profit organization, or a philanthropic organization.
“Counties across the state are stepping up to provide a safe, temporary housing solution to protect agricultural workers who need to isolate,” said CDFA secretary Karen Ross. “These hardworking men and women are on the front lines of the pandemic and it is critical that we protect them, their families, and local communities.”
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.
Kings County has partnered with Kings Community Action Organization (KCAO) to administer Housing for the Harvest as part of Kings Cares. In addition to hotel quarantine support such as transportation, meals, wellness checks and laundry service, Kings County has allocated resources for financial assistance and additional support for family at home.
“Agriculture is at the heart of Kings County commerce, community, and identity, so taking care of the essential workforce that keeps ag moving is critical to the health and wellbeing of our county. The Kings Cares program provides quarantine and isolation support for all essential workers, but through the addition of Housing for the Harvest we are able to provide an extra level of housing support and security for our workers in agriculture and food processing who have been impacted by COVID-19,” said Ed Hill, Director of the Kings County Department of Public Health.
“Having grown up in Kings County I have seen the immense impact the essential workforce has had on me personally and at KCAO. Having the opportunity to collaborate with the Kings County Department of Public Health to give back to this workforce to help slow the spread of COVID-19 is a privilege. Housing for the Harvest will add a critical piece to the existing array of services that will be provided to the essential workforce,” said Joey Cox, Director of Intervention, Prevention and Supportive Services, Kings Community Action Organization.
Farmworkers and food processing workers in Kings County who are in need of these services are urged to visit www.thehealthyharvest.org or www.cosechasana.org or call 559-710-2000. Please note that personal information gathered through this process will be kept confidential. For agricultural business on-site testing scheduling, please visit www.thehealthyharvest.org.
Riverside County’s Department of Housing, Homelessness Prevention and Workforce Solutions has partnered with the local TODEC Legal Center to manage Housing for the Harvest in the county. The Riverside program will include meals, food, transportation and direct financial assistance of $2,000 for each family participating in the program.
“Our farmworkers are essential and have continued working hard through this time to make sure the food supply is there for all of us,” said V. Manuel Perez, Riverside County 4th District Supervisor. “The pandemic has had a disproportionate effect on farmworkers throughout the State of California and in Riverside County."
“As we face a pivotal time in history, we’re so proud of our State of California and County of Riverside for listening to the grassroots and stepping up to protect California’s most valuable asset, our farmworkers,” said Luz Gallegos, Community Programs Director, TODEC Legal Center. “We look forward to this partnership, as we work together to bring relief to our lifelong essential workers ‘Nuestros Campesinos’.”
Farmworkers or food processing workers in Riverside County who are in need of these services are urged to contact the TODEC Legal Center at 888-863-3291 or via email at email@example.com. Please note that personal information gathered through this process will be kept confidential.
Tulare County’s program will be administered by Proteus, Inc. in coordination with the county’s Community Care Coalition. Through additional efforts of coalition partners, supplemental services are being offered to support families at home. The Central Valley Community Foundation has formed a regional Healthy Harvest program and will provide additional funding for support services and outreach. These partnerships are crucial to ensure needed outreach and investment in local communities.
"The work toward implementing the Healthy Harvest Program has been a unique display of Community Partners and Government Agencies coming together to provide resources and services ensuring the well-being of all residents in Tulare County during these challenging times. Tulare County helps to feed the world, and we are fortunate to be able to support ALL who make that happen," said Pete Vander Poel III, Chairman of the Tulare County Board of Supervisors.
"Proteus is honored to be part of this process in which we can serve the farmworker population. They are essential workers who are often forgotten, and we are glad we can help assist them in their time of need," said Michelle Engle-Silva, Executive Director of Operations, Proteus, Inc.
Farmworkers and food processing workers in Tulare County who are in need of these services are urged to visit www.thehealthyharvest.org or www.cosechasana.org or call 559-710-2000. Please note that personal information gathered through this process will be kept confidential. For agricultural business on-site testing scheduling, please visit www.thehealthyharvest.org.
If a county or community organization is interested in becoming a regional administrator, they may email firstname.lastname@example.org.
This article was originally published by the California Department of Food and A griculture on September 16, 2020. For more information, contact Steve Lyle, CDFA Director of Public Affairs, at 916-654-0462 or email@example.com.