VCCF and Ventura County Housing Trust Fund Create First Sustainable Loan Pool for Local Farmworker Housing
The Ventura County Community Foundation and the Ventura County Housing Trust Fund have teamed up to create the first permanent revolving fund in Ventura County dedicated to building farmworker housing.
The $100,000 in the fund will be made available as loans to developers who build units for agricultural laborers and their families. As developers repay their loans to the Housing Trust Fund, the money will be cycled back into the pool to fund future projects.
“Agriculture is the second largest workforce sector in Ventura County, providing 31,000 jobs with an estimated 20,000 of those workers employed on local farms. Quality shelter for the people who tend and harvest the crops ties directly to the success of our economy,” said Hugh Ralston, VCCF president and CEO. “This has been a priority for VCCF and our donors for the past decade, and we are pleased to have this opportunity.”
The Ventura County Fund for Farmworker Housing at VCCF has granted more than $465,000 for this priority since it was founded in 2003. The fund has supported the building of the 14th Street Development farmworker units in Santa Paula, Citrus Place in Piru and Villa Cesar Chavez in Oxnard. It has provided pre-development funds for the proposed Hansen Trust Farmworker Apartments in Ventura.
“Partnering with the Ventura County Housing Trust Fund has given the community another resource,” Ralston said.
The Ventura County Housing Trust Fund was formed in 2006 when voters passed the affordable-housing measure, Proposition 1C. Farmworker housing was identified as one of its priorities.
“Farmworkers play a critical role in putting quality, low-cost food on our tables. They deserve clean, safe, housing at an affordable rate,” said Linda Braunschweiger, CEO of the Ventura County Housing Trust Fund. “The average income of these farmworkers is about $22,000 a year. Yet the average apartment rent in Ventura County far exceeds the recommended 30 percent of income to pay for housing.”
The fund was built when VCCF partnered with the Housing Trust Fund in the “2013 for the 3:1 in ’13 Challenge” where VCCF dedicated $25,000 to the farmworker housing effort. That was matched with another $25,000 from community donors, including major support from Driscoll’s Charitable Fund, Brokaw Nursery Inc. and Brokaw Ranch Co. In turn, VCHTF matched that $50,000 to create a $100,000 permanent source of funding.