Gov. Brown signs bill providing permanent annual funding for farm worker housing

- By Bay City News Service

Gov. Jerry Brown Wednesday signed legislation that provides permanent annual funding for Napa County's three farm worker seasonal housing centers.

The Napa County Housing Authority will receive $250,000 in matching dollars each year starting in the next budget cycle under the provisions of AB 317, sponsored by Assemblymember Cecilia Aguiar-Curry, D. Winters.

The three centers provide housing for 180 migrant workers. Residents get three meals a day, literacy and other training programs for $23 a day and pay $24 a day for rent.

The funding in AB317 will sustain the programs at a low cost to the residents.

Since 2002, Napa Valley Vintners have paid a $10 per acre assessment, totaling $7 million, for farm worker housing.

Napa County also received a one-time $250,000 contribution in the state budget in June for farm worker housing.

Angel Calderon, manager of the River Ranch housing center, said each year after the harvest 15 residents from the center become homeless. Calderon said the permanent annual $250,000 will keep the housing centers open after the harvest.

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