Dodd, Aguiar-Curry seek to bolster Napa's Farmworker Housing Centers

Monday, February 6 2017

SACRAMENTO, CA – Senator Bill Dodd (D-Napa) and Assemblymember Cecilia Aguiar-Curry (D-Winters) partnered to introduce a pair of bills on Monday to support Napa County’s farmworker housing centers. The bills would allow grapegrowers to increase their annual self-imposed assessment that helps pay for local farmworker housing, while opening new state funding opportunities. 

“If it wasn’t for our hardworking farmworkers, Napa County wouldn’t be the world renowned wine region that we’ve become,” said Senator Dodd. “Supporting our farmworker housing program has been a priority of mine since my time on the Board of Supervisors. We have a unique program here in Napa where the industry partners to help fund our farmworker housing needs, and I’m happy to work with Assemblymember Aguiar-Curry to ensure the program’s continued success.”

“Napa’s farmworker housing program is a perfect example of how the community, local government, grape growers, and farmworkers can work together to support the workers in our agricultural region,” said Aguiar-Curry. “This one-of-a-kind program is critical to our farmworkers and the whole grape growing industry, but relies solely on local funding sources and rent. Senator Dodd and I are committed to working together to show how investing in this innovative housing model is good for California and I hope this helps us move forward with housing for women and families as well.”

Napa County’s farmworker housing program provides 180 affordable beds for farmworkers and has been lauded for its innovative model. Grapegrowers have helped fund the centers through a 2002 state law that authorizes them to impose a fee of up to $10 for each acre of planted vineyards. The three farmworker housing centers are run through a partnership with the county and the nonprofit California Human Development Corporation.

“Thanks to the support of Senator Dodd and Assemblymember Aguiar-Curry, Napa County will continue to champion housing for our Valley’s hardworking farmworkers,” said Alfredo Pedroza, Chairman of the Napa County Board of Supervisors. “Farmworker housing, a pillar of our agricultural economy, is a priority of the Napa County Board of Supervisors. As we look to expand workforce housing for all our communities, this legislation is needed to continue operating our three, current, farmworker centers.”

Currently, the centers run with an annual deficit, which the county has helped bridge through its budget reserves. Senate Bill 240 would be allow Napa County grapegrowers to increase their annual assessment from $10 to $15 per acre. The bill seeks to increase the cap because of the rising costs to maintain the centers and is supported by the County of Napa, Napa County Farm Bureau, Napa Valley Grapegrowers, Napa Valley Vintners and Winegrowers of Napa County. Meanwhile, Assembly Bill 317 seeks to make the centers eligible for state farmworker housing funding.

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Senator Bill Dodd represents the 3rd Senate District, which includes all or portions of Napa, Sonoma, Solano, Yolo, Sacramento, and Contra Costa Counties. You can learn more about Senator Dodd at www.sen.ca.gov/dodd

Assemblymember Aguiar-Curry represents the 4th Assembly District, which includes all or portions of Napa, Sonoma, Solano, Yolo, Lake, and Colusa Counties. You can learn more about Assemblymember Aguiar-Curry at www.asmdc.org/aguiar-curry