News Releases

Senator Murray Announces $1.75 Million for Farmworker Housing

May 10 2001

Funds will provide safe, affordable housing in Washington state's rural communities

(Washington, D.C.) – U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-Wash.) today announced the release of $1,746,150 in federal funds to address critical farmworker housing needs in Washington state. Senator Murray secured this earmark in the fiscal year 2001 spending bill for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). HUD will direct the funds to the Washington State Department of Community Development which will provide funds to local governments, non-profits and farmers to address the housing crisis.

"Too many of Washington state's migrant and seasonal farmworkers lack safe, affordable housing," said Murray. "I am pleased that this funding will help farmers and local organizations ease the housing crisis for our state's farmworkers."

According to a 1996 study by the Washington State Department of Health, rural areas attract 62,300 migrant farmworkers during the harvest season. The small, rural towns where workers settle are overwhelmed by the demand for affordable housing, and 60 percent of farmworkers and their families cannot find adequate housing.

The $1.75 million Murray secured will be used to enhance funding for the state Grower Infrastructure Loan Program to provide for the development of on-farm farmworker housing. "I believe the federal government can be a good partner in efforts to improve farmworker housing," added Murray. "The appropriation of these funds symbolizes my on-going commitment to Washington's farmworkers."

Senator Murray and her staff have sponsored meetings to bring together local agencies, non-profit housing providers, and growers to discuss ways to better address farmworker housing needs.