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.

14 replies
  1. Craig Meltzner
    Craig Meltzner says:

    Congratulations to the development team on the construction start of Ortiz Plaza which will provide critically-needed affordable housing for Sonoma County farmworker families. However, it’s not Sonoma County’s first permanent affordable rental housing for farmworker families — Burbank Housing completed the 16-unit Sonoma Valley Apartments on Highway 12 in Agua Caliente in 1991.

    Reply
    • Kristi Buffo
      Kristi Buffo says:

      Thank you for the correction, Craig. We look forward to celebrating this accomplishment with you soon at the groundbreaking, which is tentatively scheduled for June 17. Please look for your invitation to arrive shortly.

      Reply
  2. scott johnson
    scott johnson says:

    Congrats on Ortiz Plaza! Picking up on the dialogue, Burbank Hsg also completed the County’s second permanent affordable rental housing for farmworker families in Healdsburg in 1996 — Harvest Grove, 44 units. Cheers!

    Reply
    • Kristi Buffo
      Kristi Buffo says:

      Hello Katherine,
      Agreed, the architects for Ortiz Family Plaza are Hedgpeth Architects and they have done an excellent job for us! hedgpetharchitects.com / 707.523.7010.

      Reply
  3. Shirley
    Shirley says:

    Well the neighborhood backed up to this project is not happy about this project! We will make sure that the persons running this project make sure that all of the rules and regulations and noise violations are kept up! We will not hesitate to call and complain!! Most of the neighbor’s are retired!

    Reply
    • Kristi Buffo
      Kristi Buffo says:

      Hello Shirley, your concerns are noted and important to us. We are in this for the long-haul and committed to being good neighbors.

      Reply
  4. JS
    JS says:

    It would be nice if this were housing for legal guest workers instead of people who probably came here illegally and expect to stay permanently.

    It would be nice if employers paid for their worker housing instead of exploiting cheap labor and government subsidies.

    It would be nice if our cheap wine wasn’t so expensive.

    Reply
    • CHD
      CHD says:

      Hello JS,
      Ortiz Family Plaza is for work authorized farmworkers and their families. There will be regular screening to ensure the tenants are in the U.S. legally with approval to work here.

      Reply
  5. Daisy
    Daisy says:

    Totalmente de acuerdo en que hay cosas que se pueden y deben mejorar. Yo creo que es un tesoro de los bogotanos, al que le podríamos sacar muchísimo mas provecho. Y puede ser un medio mairsallovo para volver a inculcar una nueva dosis de cultura ciudadana que tanta falta le esta haciendo a Bogotá. Muchas gracias por su comentario.

    Reply
  6. Mari
    Mari says:

    In my opinion ortiz family plaza is not being fair. How is it possible that Ortiz family plaza is asking farm workers to have legal status in order to be approved. And burbank housing does not..honestly people with legal status are not going to do farm working labor.

    Reply
    • CHD
      CHD says:

      Hi Mari,
      Your concerns are understandable and we are sorry that Ortiz Plaza won’t work as an affordable option for you. Funding for Ortiz Plaza comes largely from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which is a federal agency with strict guidelines around work authorization. Providing affordable housing is one of our major goals and we will continue working at it while keeping the important points you make in mind.

      Reply
  7. Stephanie
    Stephanie says:

    In my opinion ortiz family plaza is really not on the farm workers side..honestly what kind of legal workers are going to work on a farm working labor.. my application was denied due to not having legal status after working 10 years in Farm labor. Burbank housing doesn’t check legal status so why should this program do. So much for helping farm workers!!

    Reply
    • CHD
      CHD says:

      Hi Stephanie,
      We surely understand your disappointment and regret that Ortiz Plaza can’t help you. Your point about many farm workers lacking legal documents is certainly valid. Ortiz Plaza, however, was made possible by major funding from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which is a federal agency with strict guidelines around work authorization. Not all low income housing projects receive USDA funding and, thus, don’t have the same guidelines. We will continue to work for affordable housing for farmworkers and others of low income and will keep your concerns in mind.

      Reply

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