Ensuring a home for all Oregon’s Farmworkers
CAUSA works to ensure that legislators maintain a set-aside funding pool at the department of Oregon Housing and Community Services for farmworker housing and continue programs like the Farmworker Housing tax credit.
Farmworkers in Oregon
- There are currently over 106,000 farmworkers in Oregon who harvest over 3,000,000 acres of crop every year.
- Oregon is one of the top five employers of hired and contracted farmworkers in the US.
- Oregon is a top-ten producer of many of agriculture’s most labor-intensive commodities, such as fruits, vegetables, and nursery goods.
- Farmworkers are an indispensable part of Oregon’s 4 billion dollar agriculture industry.
The Need for Housing
- Contrary to perception, most farmworkers in Oregon are not migrants: nearly 2/3 of farmworkers report stationary living conditions and consider Oregon their home.
- Most Oregon farmworkers do not live on-site at their farm of employment. Just over 8% of farmworkers live in on-site housing; in 2011 there were only 295 registered farm labor camps with 8,774 occupant spaces.
- Additionally, most farmworkers are not single males living alone: a study suggests that in Oregon, similar to Washington, close to 3/4 of farmworkers live with other family members, and over 50% live with children.
- Yet a farmworker’s salary is often too low to pay for rental housing. In all 10 of Oregon’s counties with the highest farmworker populations, the average farmworker pay is not enough to affordably cover rent for a 1 or 2 bedroom apartment.
Programs like the Farmworker Housing Tax Credit are crucial to maintaining and increasing the availability of safe, clean, and affordable housing for farmworkers.
In 2010, 2 “community based” and 11 “farm based” farmworker housing projects were funded through the farmworker housing tax credit; a total of $3,625,000 in credits was issued.