Hillsboro nonprofit Bienestar has been awarded $2.4 million to build 24 new apartments for farmworker families.
Bienestar has helped provide affordable housing and resident services for 460 low-income families in Aloha, Cornelius, Forest Grove, Hillsboro and Scappoose over the past 29 years. The federal award will go toward their latest project, Juniper Gardens in Forest Grove, where they plan to break ground in April 2011.
“We are so grateful to be able to develop new quality affordable housing for farmworker families in Washington County,” says Bienestar Executive Director Karen Shawcross. “The need for quality, safe, affordable homes with resident services is great for those who provide essential labor in our community. We believe that we have a unique cultural competency in serving farmworker families, and are looking forward to breaking ground.”
Housing help is crucial as the estimated median annual income for a farmworker family in Washington County is between $10,000 and $14,000, according to Oregon Employment Department. The number of farmworkers in Washington County swells to 18,000 in the harvest season, and many workers live in unsanitary, unsafe, and overcrowded conditions, whether in labor camps or in private units.