Seasonal housing for farm workers to open in June
GRANGER, Wash. - Some farm workers who work seasonally in the Yakima Valley can soon have a roof over their head at Cosecha Court 2 in Granger.
The Yakima Housing Authority is in the middle of building temporary migrant housing. Its purpose is to house farm workers from other countries who come to the Yakima Valley during harvest season. It’ll have enough beds for 96 workers.
Lowel Krueger with the Yakima Housing Authority said if there’s nowhere for people to stay while they temporarily do farm work in the area, then growers and their farms will suffer.
He said there is a shortage for this type of housing, and 28 beds have already been spoken for through October.
Yakima County is known for its agriculture industry. With over 3,000 farms in the valley, growers need the manpower to maintain their farms.
“We’ve gotten to an environment now where housing is such a critical part of being able to attract a labor force, and since agriculture is our primary economic driver, we’re interested in trying to help our primary economic driver,” said Krueger.
Mike Gempler with the Washington Growers League says there aren’t enough workers locally to do the farm work, so farmers have to find workers elsewhere.
“Every year, we need people outside the local area to supplement our local workforce. The local workforce has been declining in recent years. We have record low unemployment, so we’ve really been scratching to find enough people locally, and so we have to rely on people coming from out of state,” said Gempler.
Gempler works closely with the Yakima Housing Authority, and he said they offer quality housing to migrant workers. He said Yakima County is in dire need of more housing like this, otherwise workers simply won’t have a place to live.
“Its been a problem in the past, where people have been forced to camp along the river, not have drinking water, not have sanitary facilities, and so on, or rent really poor housing, substandard housing, crowding into trailers and houses and so on, that’s substandard and that’s not right,” said Gempler.
Cosecha Court 2 is set to open this summer.
For more information, visit the Yakima Housing Authority website.