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California Department of Food and Agriculture

Media Contacts: Steve Lyle (CDFA), 916-654-0462 , officeofpublicaffairs@cdfa.ca.gov

California Department of Food and Agriculture
Release #20-115
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HOUSING FOR THE HARVEST PROGRAM LAUNCHES IN FRESNO AND SAN JOAQUIN COUNTIES, PROVIDING TEMPORARY HOUSING TO AGRICULTURAL WORKERS EXPOSED TO COVID-19

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SACRAMENTO August 28, 2020 –  The California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) today announced that the counties of Fresno and San Joaquin are the first local partners to participate in Housing for the Harvest, a new program announced by Governor Gavin Newsom last month 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.  
 
The state is securing hotel rooms in participating counties like Fresno and San Joaquin, 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.  
 
“Agricultural workers play an essential role in ensuring the continuity of our food supply, and they work on the front lines of the pandemic so that Californians can continue to put food on the table,” said CDFA Secretary Karen Ross. “Housing for the Harvest adds to the action the state is taking to safeguard workers, their families and public health.” 
 
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.  
 

Fresno County

Fresno County will partner with the Fresno Economic Opportunities Commission to manage the program. The Central Valley Community Foundation will provide additional funding for support services and outreach. These partnerships are crucial to ensure needed outreach and investment in local communities. 

“COVID-19 has brought to light how much we rely on our farmworkers, many of whom do not have access to basic needs to stay safe. This program will allow us to serve those that have continued to work so hard to ensure there is food in our stores and on our tables across the country,” said Emilia Reyes, CEO of the Fresno Economic Opportunities Commission.
  
“We are grateful for the State’s commitment to supporting essential food workers in our communities as they labor through the harvest and beyond. The State’s investment is unlocking additional philanthropic support from donors locally and across the country,” said Ashley Swearengin, President and CEO of the Central Valley Community Foundation.
 
Farmworkers and food processing workers in Fresno 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.

San Joaquin County


San Joaquin County will partner with the Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Stockton and the Community Foundation of San Joaquin. The Community Foundation of San Joaquin County is funding an Emergency Assistance Grants Program for up to $500 per eligible recipient for economic hardship, as well as a Community Outreach Partnership, a collective impact effort to conduct community outreach. These partnerships are crucial to ensure needed outreach and investment in local communities.

“The agricultural community is a part of the very fabric of San Joaquin County. Housing for the Harvest builds on Project Roomkey to support and keep safe these essential workers and their families. Collaboration is our key to success, and we are pleased to partner with Community Foundation and Catholic Charities to bring this important program to San Joaquin County,” said Supervisor Kathy Miller, Chair of the San Joaquin County Board of Supervisors.
 
"Catholic Charities will work collaboratively with community partners to provide case management services to the vulnerable agricultural families impacted by Covid. This program will address important necessities of healthcare and basic needs for these working families," said Elvira Ramirez, Executive Director of Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Stockton.

 “Recognizing the critical work that farm and food processing employees are performing under unprecedented circumstances, Housing for the Harvest will provide much-needed assistance to help safeguard workers and their families from the spread of COVID-19. The Community Foundation is grateful for the opportunity to serve our essential workers through this program, by partnering with our state and county leaders, and Catholic Charities,” said Moses Zapien, CEO of the Community Foundation of San Joaquin.

 Farmworkers or food processing workers in San Joaquin County who are in need of these services are urged to call Catholic Charities at 209-469-1120. Please note that personal information gathered through this process will be kept confidential.

If a county or community organization is interested in becoming a regional administrator, they may email cdfa.emergency.response@cdfa.ca.gov.  
 
For more information on Housing for the Harvest, please visit our website.


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California Department of Food and Agriculture Office of Public Affairs
1220 N St., Ste. 214, Sacramento, CA 95814
916-654-0462, www.cdfa.ca.gov