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(Palo Alto, Calif.)—Peninsula Open Space Trust (POST) today announced the completion of a long-needed project that will provide safe and low-cost housing for farmworkers along the San Mateo County coast.
The project, known as the Red House at Cloverdale Coastal Ranches, included remodeling a vacant home that will be shared by farmworkers who provide vital assistance at coastal farms. The work was funded in partnership with the County of San Mateo.
“Local farms rely heavily on labor and it is extremely challenging for those who are key to a successful farm to find affordable housing,” said Walter T. Moore, President of POST. “Local farmlands provide many economic and environmental benefits to our region such as fresh, healthy, local food. They also keep wages and taxes within the community and help preserve our overall long-term environmental health. To keep farms healthy, we must provide shelter for farm staff. While small, this is just one example of how POST is working to preserve farmland through our Farmland Futures Initiative.”
The units are occupied as of this month. Workers will pay rents substantially below market rates.
Red House is on land owned and managed by POST. The Palo Alto-based nonprofit took on the challenge of creating affordable worker housing as part of its Farmland Futures Initiative, which was launched in 2016 to preserve and protect agriculture along the San Mateo County coast.
POST is raising $25 million to finance both land protection and infrastructure improvements that will enable local farms to succeed for decades to come. Since the 1980s, the Bay Area’s nine counties have lost nearly 200,000 acres of agricultural land, with 35 percent of San Mateo County farmland falling prey to development or no longer in production.
The County of San Mateo contributed $150,000 toward the Red House project through the County’s Agricultural Workforce Housing Program, which is funded by the voter-approved half-cent sales tax extension Measure K. In response to the leadership of Supervisor Don Horsley, the Board of Supervisors set aside Measure K funds for this program to ensure farmworkers can afford to live and work in San Mateo County while contributing their skills to local farms and ranches.
“Farms are an essential part of the landscape, economy and community here on the Coast, and we thank POST for working with us to generate much needed new farm labor housing capacity,” said Supervisor Don Horsley. “Measure K funding has been very successful in making a direct impact in the communities we serve. We are working on additional farm labor housing projects with POST, and I look forward to seeing those completed later this year.”
About the Peninsula Open Space Trust
POST protects open space, farms and parkland for communities in and around Silicon Valley. As a private nonprofit land trust, POST has been responsible for saving more than 75,700 acres over the last 40 years. POST works with private landowners and public agencies to connect people and nature for the benefit of all. Visit openspacetrust.org for more information.
About San Mateo County Measure K
Measure K is a countywide half-cent sales tax extension passed by San Mateo County voters in November 2016 to support essential County of San Mateo services and to maintain or replace critical facilities. It is also known as the “San Mateo County Critical Services Measure.” Measure K passed with 70.37 percent (206,910 votes) “yes” vs. 29.63 percent (87,117 votes) “no.” The original tax was passed by voters in November 2012 (assigned as Measure A on that ballot). Measure K extends the sales tax for 20 years, until March 31, 2043. For more information visit cmo.smcgov.org/measureK.
The County of San Mateo’s Agricultural Workforce Housing Needs Assessment Report, completed by BAE Urban Economics in 2016, identified lack of housing as “a key concern for [agricultural] producers in recruiting and retaining employees.” The full report is available here (PDF).
Peninsula Open Space Trust (POST) protects and cares for open space, farms and parkland in and around Silicon Valley. Since its founding in 1977, POST has been responsible for saving more than 75,000 acres as permanently protected land in San Mateo, Santa Clara and Santa Cruz counties.