September 2020
House Farm Workers!
Working to promote safe, decent, secure and affordable housing for all
Ventura County farm workers since 2004.
Ventura County Farm Workers
Need Our Help
Dear friend,

Many farmworkers in our community are experiencing devastating economic impacts due to COVID-19. Although farmworkers are designated "essential workers," many have lost their jobs, experienced reduced work hours, or have needed to stay home to care for children or sick family members. These men and women who tend the crops and make possible the green vistas and fresh food that we all enjoy are now struggling to meet basic needs.

A group of agricultural employers and farmworker advocates have worked together to address the urgent need to keep farmworkers from becoming homeless by creating the Farmworker Household Assistance Program (FHAP), to be supported by private donations.

The program is offered through a partnership between House Farm Workers!, the County of Ventura, Ventura County Community Foundation (VCCF), and the Farmworker Resource Program (FRP). Tax-deductible donations to the program will be securely deposited in a new FHAP fund at VCCF. The foundation will in turn grant the money to the FRP in the County of Ventura's Human Services Agency. No fees will be charged by VCCF or the County.

The FRP has already received more than 1,000 requests for assistance. The program will provide grants of $1,500 per eligible household until available funds are depleted. For eligibility criteria, instructions on how to apply, and answers to frequently asked questions, visit: http://www.vchsa.org/FHAP.

The goal is to raise at least $250,000 by the end of September. The FHAP will be funded by your contributions — every dollar of which will go directly to farmworker families in need.

House Farm Workers! has donated $5,000 toward the fund and $113,700 has been raised so far. Additionally, The Board of Supervisors unanimously approved matching what is raised up to $250,000, so every dollar you give will be doubled!

Below is the link to donating online, the donation form if you would like to mail a check, and the FHAP fact sheet. We can't do it without you!
Highlights
City Group Updates

  • Oxnard Farm Worker Housing Committee:
  • In the August meeting, Kathleen Mallory, Planning & Sustainability Manager for the City of Oxnard, provided an overview of the Housing Element site selection and prior Housing Element activities.
  • A Map-Based Public Comment Form was introduced to the group. This housing inventory sites GIS map will be up and running soon and will be part of the City of Oxnard's virtual engagement with the community. 
At this time, all city groups are meeting virtually.

Interested in joining one of our city groups and getting notices about upcoming meetings? Please contact us at events@housefarmworkers.org to be added to a
city group mailing list.
Congratulations to our 2020
Ellen Brokaw Scholarship Recipients! 🎉🎉🎉
From left to right: Rosita Lopez, Paola Gonzalez and Bryan Navarrete.
This year we were able to grant $3,000 scholarships to three recent high school graduates and current college students whose parents are farm workers. Congrats to Rosita Lopez of Oxnard, Paola Gonzalez of Santa Paula, and Bryan Navarrete of Oxnard!

Learn more about each of our Ellen Brokaw Scholarship recipients in our previous email: https://conta.cc/2YVF3LS
Where Are They Now:
Erik Magaña's freshman-year experience
An update on recipients of our 
Ellen Brokaw House Farm Workers! Scholarship
Hi! I’m Erik, a Spanish major about to start my second year at UC Santa Barbara. I had a great first year, meeting many new people and getting the opportunity to expand on my knowledge through a mixture of classes across disciplines. This past year, I’ve taken core classes for my major that included advanced grammar and composition, introductory literature analysis and introductory linguistics. Like the majority of university students this past spring, my spring quarter at UCSB happened remotely. We shifted to remote instruction shortly before the end of winter quarter due to the pandemic, so I returned home. Even so, I was able to stay connected with friends and family, just in different and safer ways. While it was definitely not an easy adjustment, I still felt confident in my performance. Our fall quarter is also mainly happening remotely, where I’ll be taking a Spanish translation course and a few other general ed classes. Hopefully, the state of things continues to improve so we can return to in-person activities.

A little over a year ago, I was awarded the Ellen Brokaw Scholarship by House Farm Workers! The scholarship has been a huge support throughout my first year of college, especially among the challenges brought by this sudden shift of normalcy. A couple thousand dollars truly goes a long way toward paying the smaller-scale college expenses that creep up throughout the year, because unfortunately, it all adds up very quickly. 

I truly appreciate all of the support provided by the team at House Farm Workers! Thank you to House Farm Workers! for making the scholarship opportunity possible not only for myself, but for the other students who have been awarded the scholarship and those who receive it going forward! Take care and stay safe!
Erik Magaña and Ellen Brokaw at the
2019 "From Field to Fork" fundraising dinner
Meet the newest
House Farm Workers! board member
Chris Stephens
Chris Stephens recently retired after a 35-year career in local government. During his career Chris worked throughout the Central Coast. He served as the head of the County of Ventura’s Resource Management Agency from 2006 until retiring in 2019. Previously within Ventura County, he worked as the County’s planning director, as the deputy executive director of the Ventura County Transportation Commission, and as a transportation planner for the city of Oxnard. Prior to coming to Ventura, Chris worked in Santa Cruz, Monterey, and San Luis Obispo counties. He has also served on many community organizations and programs, including the UC Hansen Advisory Board, the city of Ventura Visioning Committee and Charter Committee, and the Ventura County Planning Commission. Chris currently teaches at UC Santa Barbara in the Environmental Studies Department and serves as a Ventura Harbor port commissioner. A native of the Bay Area, Chris received his bachelor’s degree in public administration from UC Santa Barbara and his master’s degree in city and regional planning from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo.
Farm Worker Housing Advocate:
Cristina Heredia and Villa Cesar Chavez
Cristina has been a property manager at Villa Cesar Chavez for about 3 ½ years. She graduated from CSU Channel Islands, where she studied early childhood studies and developmental psychology.

Cristina has a connection with the residents of Villa Cesar Chavez apartments as well as a deeper understanding of agricultural and farm worker issues that stems from her family’s background. At Villa Cesar Chavez, she helps out the children with their educational needs such as financial aid and scholarships. She also helps the residents in the building with rent assistance, food, and other resources they may need.

Cristina says the best part of her job is “seeing the faces of the new residents as I show them the house. To see their smiles, their eyes sparkle, it brings tears of joy that they are finally able to call VCC home. I can say that this is one of the properties which has a tight knit community. The residents look out for one another. As the saying goes it takes a village to raise a child. Here I truly believe it.”

Before living in this property, residents were living in one-bedroom apartments where there were 6 people, garages, and sheds. The crowded spacing led to tension and stress. There was no space to study, relax, and unwind. These places became uninhabitable because residents did not have enough money to pay for maintenance.

At Villa Cesar Chavez, the families are able to have personal space, a place to call home, and a place where children have a place to play and study. Villa Cesar Chavez also partners with Food Share, which helps distribute food for residents.

Villa Cesar Chavez is an affordable housing development located in the City of Oxnard. Managed by Cabrillo Economic Development Corporation, the development consists of 51 two-, three- and four-bedroom spacious town-home style units for eligible low-income farmworker families.

To learn more about Villa Cesar Chavez and other CEDC housing developments, visit https://www.cabrilloedc.org/.

This interview was the product of a partnership between CSUCI’s Service Learning program and Professor Nancy Chen’s Communications Capstone course. The interview was conducted by Diana Martinez. 
House Farm Workers!
805-921-0430  info@housefarmworkers.org 
www.housefarmworkers.org