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USDA offers 514/516 Farm Labor Housing grants and loans

Nonprofits, state or local government agencies, public agencies, federally recognized tribes, and limited partnerships with nonprofit general partners are eligible to apply for Section 514 loans. The same entities, with the exception of limited partnerships, are eligible for Section 516 grants. The funds can be used for construction of new off-farm Farm Labor Housing units and related facilities for domestic farm laborers, and for the purchase and substantial rehabilitation of existing non-FLH properties. Section 521 Rental Assistance and operating assistance are available for new construction.

To apply, contact the USDA Rural Development state office serving the state of the proposed project in order to receive further information and copies of the application package.

Applications are due to state offices on April 12, 2016.

The Silent (And Invisible) Farmworker Housing Crisis

by Lance George and Leslie Strauss

“Rural America’s Silent Housing Crisis,” an article in The Atlantic magazine’s February edition, describes the overlooked plight of rural families who struggle to obtain quality housing they can afford. The article does not look specifically at the housing problems of farmworkers – a crisis that deserves attention because it is not only silent, but often invisible.

Because of the nature of their employment and working conditions, farmworkers’ housing options are often substantially different from the overall market in terms of cost and quality. Most farmworkers find housing through the private market. But rental housing is not as plentiful in rural places as it is in most cities. Additionally, landlords typically ask for a security deposit, a credit check, and a long-term commitment, requirements that often conflict with the unique conditions of the farm labor industry…

Read the full post on Harvesting Justice