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USDA Announces $48 Million Available for New Construction to Alleviate Shortage of Safe and Affordable Farm Labor Housing Across the Pacific Northwest and the Nation

Phil Eggman
Release Date

KENNEWICK, WASH, April 18, 2024 – U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development Under Secretary Dr. Basil Gooden today announced that USDA will begin accepting applications on April 19, 2024, for financing to build new housing, aiding local farms and businesses to remain competitive while enhancing the lives of working families.

This initiative aims to ensure year-round and seasonal domestic farmworkers have safe, modern, and affordable living spaces.

“The Biden-Harris Administration and USDA are committed to ensuring that all rural and Tribal communities can access federal funds to advance local priorities and create better futures,” Under Secretary Gooden said. “The funding we're announcing today will bring new jobs and address a critical need here in the Pacific Northwest and across the country to build new, modern homes for farmworkers and their families.”

Today, Under Secretary Gooden announced $48 million in available funding to construct, improve, or purchase and repair housing for farmworkers across the nation through the Off-Farm Labor Housing Program and the On-Farm Labor Housing Program. This funding availability follows USDA’s recent announcement inviting applications to construct, repair and modify affordable housing units for farmworkers

Under Secretary Gooden made today’s announcement while attending a roundtable in Kennewick, Wash., with national, regional, and local leaders to discuss the impact of historic federal funding in the Pacific Northwest. Dr. Gooden heard from past federal funding recipients in housing, healthcare, and infrastructure as they discussed the impact of federal programs on communities across Washington and Oregon.

“This announcement demonstrates the Administration’s ongoing commitment to the farmers, laborers, and community leaders who told us loud and clear: Oregon’s farmworkers need more housing,” said Margi Hoffmann, State Director for USDA Rural Development in Oregon. “This program won’t just benefit the families of the people who feed us but also the families of builders, who will put food on the table thanks to good union jobs, and average Oregonians, who will pay less at the grocery store thanks to stronger local food systems.

“We urge those interested to reach out and take advantage of this transformational opportunity,” she added.

Washington State Director Helen Price Johnson agrees.

'This is great news for the Pacific Northwest and the whole country! The people who grow the food we eat deserve decent housing. Through this investment USDA will support local businesses to create jobs, and provide safe, modern homes for hundreds of farm workers and their families- strengthening our rural communities for the future."

 **Background:** Under the Off-Farm Labor Housing Program, USDA is seeking applications for loans and grants from nonprofits, community organizations, local governments, and federally recognized tribes for new construction of housing units for farmworkers. The deadline to apply is Wednesday, July 3, 2024, at 12:00 p.m. ET. Under the On-Farm Labor Housing Loans Program, USDA is seeking applications from farmers for new construction and preservation of housing units for farmworkers. The Department will accept applications under this program on an ongoing basis until funds are exhausted.

For more information about USDA Rural Development, visit www.rd.usda.gov.