Farmworker Household Assistance Program Continues Efforts to Secure Funds for Ventura County Farmworkers in Immediate Need of Financial Relief
Opportunity to receive $50,000 in additional funding through a 1:2 challenge match from Ventura County Community Foundation’s Covid-19 Rapid Response Fund
House Farm Workers! announced today that Phase II of the Farmworker Household Assistance Program (FHAP) is beginning to provide further emergency assistance to more farmworkers and their families in need from among the 45,000 who live and work in Ventura County. There is an immediate effort to raise $100,000 in order to maximize a 1:2 challenge match up to $50,000 from Ventura County Community Foundation’s (VCCF) COVID-19 Rapid Response Fund. The goal is to raise a total of $500,000 in Phase II. All donations will be provided directly to local farmworkers in need with eligibility and distribution overseen by the Farmworker Resource Program within the Human Services Agency of Ventura County. To help reach the 1:2 challenge match, tax-deductible donations are being requested immediately at www.vccf.org/fhap/.
Sponsored by House Farm Workers!, FHAP was collaboratively established in May 2020 as a committee of community volunteers under the leadership of Ellen Brokaw, House Farm Workers! Board member and Chair of the Board of Brokaw Ranch Company. The FHAP program was formed as a partnership between House Farm Workers!, VCCF, and the County’s Farm Worker Resource program to provide financial relief for farmworkers facing hardships from pandemic-related work-hour reductions and other unexpected expenses. In December 2020, FHAP successfully completed Phase I, distributing $1,000 each to 3,465 farmworker families from $400,000 in donations and an additional $3 million from the County of Ventura as part of the Federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act (CARES). Just last week, the County of Ventura granted an additional $3.65 million in CARES funding to provide continued support to these previously funded farmworker families in the form of $1,000 of financial aid to eligible households who still reside in the County. As the fallout from the pandemic continues more farmworkers are increasingly desperate for relief with growing debts, unpaid rents, and healthcare expenses.
Based on the success of Phase I, the Farmworker Household Assistance Program (FHAP) is expanding Phase II to serve farmworkers with the most need, calibrating the degree of need based on household size. “Community recognition of our farmworkers is essential given how much we enjoy the very food they work tirelessly and daily to provide for each of us. Farmworkers are truly essential workers in our community. As the need persists, we are asking for support to continue,” commented Brokaw. The immediate need for a successful Phase II relies critically on securing a $50,000 match from the first $100,000 in donations. “The pandemic has been devastating for so many people in our community, especially to our essential farmworkers who continue to ensure that food is delivered to our community and beyond,” said Vanessa Bechtel, President, and CEO of VCCF. “This fund was specifically created to support our farmworkers who have been economically impacted by COVID-19, and every donation goes directly to farmworkers to help them meet their essential needs.”
These funds will be disbursed immediately, in $500 to $1,000 increments, by the Farmworker Resource Program with no administration fees charged by VCCF so that every penny goes directly to farmworkers and their families. The sooner donations are received, the more quickly farmworkers can receive much-needed assistance. Donate at www.vccf.org/fhap/.
About House Farm Workers! – Since 2004, House Farm Workers! has been promoting safe, decent, secure, and affordable housing for farmworkers and their families in Ventura County through education and advocacy. The nonprofit 501c3 actively and continually advocates for the agricultural community to elected representatives and community leaders about the need for safe, decent, and affordable housing for Ventura County farmworkers and their families. There are approximately 41,600 employed farmers in the county, all of which hold key roles in Ventura County’s $2 billion-a-year agricultural industry. The average farm worker’s annual income is $22,000, which is less than the average price of an apartment per year in Ventura County. – www.HouseFarmWorkers.org, (805) 921-0430, info@HouseFarmWorkers.org.