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Farmworkers impacted by virus can apply for grants

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Farmworkers impacted by COVID-19 will be able to apply for grants of $1,500 through the Farmworker Household Assistance Program. Applications available online at www.vchsa.org/FHAP are due Sept. 30 by 11:59 p.m. 
The Ventura County Board of Supervisors approved the program to provide up to $250,000 in county general funds to match private donations made through the nonprofit Ventura County Community Foundation.
“We are grateful to partner with the agricultural community and community-based organizations to support essential farmworkers who have experienced hardship due to the pandemic,” said Ventura County Executive Officer Mike Powers.
Applicants must be farmworkers with low incomes who have lived in Ventura County for at least the last 30 days and are struggling to meet basic needs such as food, housing or health care due to COVID-19. Priority will be given to eligible applicants with an annual household income of less than 50% area median income, followed by 80% area median income.
Depending on the amount of private funds raised and matched by the county, and the number of eligible applications received by the deadline, a lottery process may be used to select grantees at random from among eligible applicant households. Each funded household will receive a one-time grant of $1,500.
Outreach to the farmworker community is underway, with bilingual materials, including videos, available in Spanish, Mixtec, Zapotec and Purepecha. “We already have more than 1,000 interested farmworker households,” said Melissa Livingston, director of the Ventura County Human Services Agency, which is administering the program. “The need is great, and we stand ready to assist as many households as possible.”
“The estimated 43,000 hardworking farmworkers in Ventura County struggle with housing costs at the best of times,” said Ellen Brokaw from Brokaw Ranch Company. “In this pandemic many are simply unable to continue housing and feeding their families without help. The FHAP Committee, House Farmworkers!, the Ventura County Community Foundation, and the County of Ventura are working together, with the financial support of the community, to provide desperately needed support.”
Every dollar donated will go directly to farmworker families in need. To donate to the FHAP, visit www.vccf.org/fhap/.