The National Farmworker Jobs Program (NFJP) is a Department of Labor (DOL) program administered in the United States and Puerto Rico by local organizations to provide services for migrant and seasonal farmworkers. The NFJP program, originally authorized under the 1964 Civil Rights Act, is now a part of the Workforce Investment Act of 1998 and the 2014 Workforce Innovation and Opportunities Act (WIOA). Today, the program consists of 52 employment and training grants and 17 housing grants.
Community organizations, as NFJP grantees, and state agencies work together to address the needs of the farmworker population, including housing and other support services. Here are a few great examples of how NFJP grantees have utilized the funds to provide housing for farmworkers.
The Office of Rural and Farmworking Housing (ORFH), in Yakima, Washington, is a NFJP grantee. Through this program, ORFH assisted the Housing Authority of Grant County by providing essential development services for the construction of Esperanza. Esperanza, pictured to the right, is a seasonally-occupied farmworker housing development, located in Mattawa, WA. Some of the services that ORFH provided to the Housing Authority of Grant County for this project include feasibility assessment; securing zoning/permitting approvals; review architectural drawings and specifications; applying for and securing all permanent financing; assist is the bidding and selection process for the General Contractor; oversee, package and submit all financial draws during construction; marketing and management assistance (as needed); and upon completion, close-out all financing.
Additionally, ORFH is currently assisting the Sunnyside Housing Authority for the Rainier Park development in Sunnyside, WA, pictured to the left. When completed, the Rainier Park development will provide year-round housing to farmworkers. The Rainier Park development will be comprised of 40 two and three-bedroom housing units for families earning 50 percent of less of the median income for the area. Of the 40 units, 30 will be reserved for those with a verifiable income that qualifies as agricultural work, and 10 will be reserved for low-income individuals and families.
ORFH services for Rainier Park include: feasibility assessment; zoning/permitting approvals including a short subdivision; applying for a securing construction loan and permanent financing including Low Income Housing Tax Credits; negotiating terms and conditions of construction loan and equity investment; overseeing the selection processes for the project architect and general contractor; review, package and oversee all financial draws during construction; and upon completion, close-out all financing.
Self-Help Enterprises, another non-profit organization that serves as a NFJP grantee has successfully utilized NFJP funds to develop and support farmworker housing in California. Self-Help Enterprises has worked to address the over-crowding and high-cost burdens faced by farmworkers in Lamont, California. The development is comprised of 44 rental units, including two-, three-, and four-bedroom units. Also in California, Self-Help Enterprises sponsored and developed the Viscaya Gardens project in Dinuba, CA. In addition to providing quality affordable housing, this development also offers resident service programs to improve the quality of life of its residents. To see what Self-Help Enterprises has to say about these communities, visit the following links: Viscaya Gardens and Lamont, California, and visit their website at www.selfhelpenterprises.org.