USDA Awards More than $26 Million for Affordable Farmworker Housing
WASHINGTON-The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced today $26 million to help provide safe and sanitary housing for farmworkers in nine affordable rental communities in four states. The funding will support 439 rental units in California, Florida, Kansas and Texas. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack will make the announcement later today during an address to the League of United Latin American Citizens' (LULAC) 87th annual national convention.
"American agriculture is grateful to the individuals working in the fields, day-in and day-out, to grow and harvest the food we eat," Vilsack said. "Since 2009, USDA has invested $268 million to build or repair more than 2,000 affordable homes for farmworkers nationwide. USDA, under the Obama Administration, is proud of its efforts to help ensure farmworkers and their families have safe, adequate housing. Every year, agricultural workers who are immigrants come to the United States for the opportunity to work, pay taxes and fully contribute to this country's economy, many with a dream of someday becoming American citizens. America's farmers, ranchers and the businesses supporting our rural communities depend on these hardworking individuals to ensure we remain a productive, food-secure nation. That is why we need comprehensive immigration reform today - because a food-secure nation with a thriving, growing economy is a more secure nation."
Today's funding is provided through the Farm Labor Housing Loan and Grant program. It will help qualified organizations develop housing for farmworkers, make housing repairs and provide household furnishings.
One of the nine recipients, the Homestead Housing Authority in Homestead, Fla., is receiving $3 million - $1.5 million in loans and $1.5 million in grants - to build 20 affordable townhomes in its Redlands Center. This will add to its portfolio of 333 housing units, all of which are funded through USDA Rural Development. In Ulysses, Kan., 18 units will be developed by Builders Development Corporation using $2.8 million in USDA loans and grants.
The Farm Labor Housing Loan and Grant program continues to help improve the quality of life for America's farmworkers.