SACRAMENTO — The California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) today announced that the counties of Yolo and Imperial are the latest to 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. Twelve counties are now participating in Housing for the Harvest: Yolo, Imperial, Sacramento, San Luis Obispo, Kern, Madera, 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.
“Housing for the Harvest is an essential tool to help protect the health of our agricultural workers, their families and local communities, as well as the food supply we all rely on,” said CDFA Secretary Karen Ross. “CDFA is very pleased to welcome Yolo and Imperial counties to this effort and we look forward to expanding the program with additional local partners across the state.”
Housing for the Harvest is focused on the Central Valley, Imperial Valley and Central Coast regions primarily to provide opt-in housing support. Any county or region that is interested in joining the program should contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
California has received FEMA approval for this program during the COVID-19 pandemic and will seek federal reimbursement for 75 percent of hotel costs.
Yolo County is providing hotel quarantine support through transportation, meals, laundry and wellness checks for the Housing for the Harvest Program. Yolo County is also providing additional support for participants’ families, such as grocery or food box delivery via online platforms to their homes.
“It’s hard to imagine a more truly essential worker than those who harvest our food. The COVID-19 crisis has cruelly impacted farmworkers more adversely than the remainder of the population,” said Chair of the Yolo County Board of Supervisors Gary Sandy. “Responding to their needs has required pulling together an array of services, including temporary lodging, designed to safeguard this vulnerable population.”
Farmworkers and food processing workers in Yolo County who are in need of these services are urged to call 833-YOLOCOV (833-965-6268). Please note that personal information gathered through this process will be kept confidential.
Imperial County has partnered with Vo Neighborhood Medical Clinic to administer Housing for the Harvest. In addition to hotel quarantine support, transportation, meals, laundry and wellness checks will be provided.
“Vo Neighborhood Medical Clinic is honored and ready to serve the health and wellness needs of our hard working agricultural families. We appreciate their commitment to the harvest and they will be treated with the highest quality and priority,” said Venus Nguyen, President of Vo Neighborhood Medical Clinic.
“I am grateful to the California Department of Food and Agriculture for taking the role of the lead state agency in this new and very important program. Farmworkers are a key part to the success of agriculture, an essential industry that provides the food that we consume,” said Imperial County Agricultural Commissioner Carlos Ortiz.
Farmworkers and food processing workers in Imperial County who are in need of these services are urged to call 442-228-0198. Please note that personal information gathered through this process will be kept confidential.
For more information on Housing for the Harvest, please visit our website.
–California Department of Food and Agriculture
For more articles out of California, click here.