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May 20, 2024

Nonprofit buys land for affordable farmworker housing

GREENFIELD — EAH Housing recently announced that it has acquired 11 acres of land in Greenfield to build more than 200 affordable housing units for families tied to the local agriculture industry.

“Many rural farming communities in Central California are impacted by the rising rents and are facing a severe shortage of permanent housing,” said Welton Jordan, vice president of real estate development at EAH Housing, in a news release July 18. “Agricultural workers in Salinas Valley and Monterey County desperately need quality, affordable housing.”

The currently vacant property at 41206 Walnut Ave. will become the new home for 222 permanently affordable, year-round housing units for Salinas Valley farmworkers and their families. Once complete, the development will feature contemporary garden-style apartments, with a community building, recreation and play area, indoor and outdoor common areas and a community garden.

Construction is estimated to begin February 2021, with completion about 18 months later.

According to the Farmworker Housing Study and Action Plan for Salinas Valley and Pajaro Valley, released by the California Institute of Rural Studies in 2018, an overwhelming need for affordable farmworker housing in this area was identified.

The plan found that more than 45,000 units of farmworker housing are needed to alleviate overcrowding and safely house an estimated 91,000 regional employees of the agriculture sector.

“Rural communities are not immune to the housing crisis, and South County welcomes the opportunity to work with organizations, such as EAH Housing, to create safe, high-quality places for our residents to call home,” said Monterey County Supervisor Chris Lopez. “EAH Housing has a long, well established history of developing quality, workforce housing. It understands the unique opportunities and challenges associated with building and successfully managing affordable housing in rural areas.”

EAH Housing is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to develop, manage and promote quality affordable housing and sustainable, diverse communities. The organization provides services for about 20,000 people every day in California and Hawaii.

The Greenfield land acquisition was financed with a $3.8 million loan from Local Initiatives Support Corporation, a nonprofit Community Development Financial Institution.