Construction to begin on affordable farmworker family housing complex in Santa Rosa

Ortiz Family Plaza to help fill critical need for affordable homes

An affordable housing development to meet the needs of Sonoma County’s changing farmworker population is coming soon to Santa Rosa. California Human Development announces closing of financing for the 30 unit Ortiz Family Plaza to be located in Santa Rosa’s Larkfield-Wikiup region. Construction is set to begin early next month.

“Ortiz Family Plaza will provide the men and women who harvest Sonoma County’s bounty with clean, safe and affordable homes to rest and raise their families,” says Christopher Paige, CHD’s chief executive officer. “Moreover, it will provide stability for work-authorized farmworkers who play a crucial role in the Sonoma County economy. These are much-needed affordable homes for people who live here year-round and whose children are growing up here.”

A 2015 survey by the Sonoma County Health Department shows the profile of county farmworkers is changing, with nearly 90% now living in Sonoma County permanently. It shows farmworkers spend up to 60% of their income on rent and it identifies affordable housing as a critical need. A subsidy from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) allows Ortiz Family Plaza to help fill this need by capping rents for farmworker residents at 30% of income.

In development since 2009, Ortiz Family Plaza involves a wide combination of support from federal, state and local government, as well as private foundations, businesses, and individuals. The nearly $11 million complex will be located on a long vacant 1.78-acres parcel at 5360 Old Redwood Hwy and will feature two-bedroom, one-and-a-half bathroom apartments with a community center, a management office, kitchen, covered patio, BBQ/picnic area, a playground, community gardens, and a teen recreational area. Onsite services such as English as a Second Language, citizenship workshops, financial literacy classes, health services outreach, mentoring programs, computer classes, education and nutrition programs will be offered.

Milestone Accomplishment: 40 Years & 500,000 Served

On Friday, April 29th, California Human Development celebrated a milestone accomplishment—40 years of Farmworker Services and Workforce Development in Northern California. Supporters and partners from every sector gathered in Stockton to mark the occasion and to savor, truly relish and enjoy, in the power of what people can do together when they join hands and set their minds to the task.

Consider this fact to realize how big the milestone is:  500,000—yes, half-a-million—lives touched!

And what does this accomplishment look like? It looks like Lizbeth Tania Padilla Gonzalez who arrived in San Joaquin County to harvest alfalfa, bringing with her two young daughters, a third grade education, and a dream. Today, after graduating from CHD’s training program, Lizbeth is living her dream and more. She’s now a construction apprentice with the Laborer’s Union International—making double the pay and growing!

Of course, Lizbeth’s story is just one of many. With so many people served, there are far too many faces and stories to recall. So on Friday, CHD and over 200 of its many supporters raised a toast to them all! From founding father to federal government agent to field hand, we celebrated our successful efforts to include California’s migrant and seasonal farmworkers in the American Dream. And, we re-energized together for the next 40 years and beyond—for there is still plenty of work to be done.