California Introduces Housing for the Harvest

Len WilcoxCalifornia Corner, COVID-19, Labor

Housing for the Harvest

California Governor Gavin Newsom announced that Housing for the Harvest is underway in Fresno and other Central Valley counties. This is a new program designed 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.

The state is securing hotel rooms in participating counties like Fresno and San Joaquin, with local governments identifying administrators to manage the program. Local community organizations are providing additional services, like meals, wellness checks and in-language assistance. Local administrators will serve as a point of contact for eligible workers.

“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 California Department of Food and Agriculture 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 Federal Emergency Management Agency approval for this program during the COVID-19 pandemic and will seek federal reimbursement for 75 percent of hotel costs.

In Fresno County, the Fresno Economic Opportunities Commission will manage the program. The Central Valley Community Foundation will provide additional funding for support services and outreach.

“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 chief executive officer of the Central Valley Community Foundation.

Farm and food-processing workers in Fresno County who are in need of these services can visit or or call 559-710-2000.

About the Author

Len Wilcox

Correspondent at Large for Citrus Industry Magazine and AgNet West