Featured Profile: Valle Naranjal

Provider: Cabrillio Economic Development Corporation (CEDC)Valle Naranjal Mercy Loan Fund

Location: Piru, California

Property Type:  Farm Worker Family Rental

Units: 66

Description: With the help of a $1.9 million loan from Mercy Loan Fund, Cabrillo Economic Development Corporation (CEDC) will develop Valle Naranjal, a 66 unit farm worker family rental project in Piru, California, a small town located in eastern Ventura County. The Valle Naranjal development will include a large community center, several recreational play fields, two tot lots and a community garden for the 298 residents.

Agriculture is a significant economic driver for California’s economy. As Ventura County has grown more populous and prosperous, the supply of housing for those who work the fields has fallen ever further behind the demand. Estimates suggest that more than 20,000 agricultural workers live in the county, many with young families. The average income of those workers is about $22,000 a year. Yet the average apartment rent in Ventura County is more than $18,000 a year. This combination of low wages and high housing costs means farm workers must often pool their resources to live in overcrowded apartments, motel rooms or houses. Sometimes they live in garages or sheds neither intended nor fit for human habitation.

CEDC’s mission is to provide comprehensive housing services, through a community building approach, that facilitate self-sufficiency for individuals and families who are most lacking in opportunity in Ventura and Santa Barbara counties and adjacent areas in Los Angeles county. Since its inception nearly three decades ago, CEDC has built or has in process almost 1,400 units of low-income and very-low income rental and ownership housing in Ventura County. Of these units, 260 were built specifically for farm workers and another 190 were developed working with farm worker community groups.

This is the third loan that Mercy Loan Fund has provided to CEDC. Over the years, Mercy Loan Fund has made nine loans in five states for the development of affordable housing for farm workers. These loans in California, Colorado, New Mexico, Oregon and Washington have helped to provide over 470 homes to more than 2,300 farm workers and their families. Mercy Loan Fund is proud to have partnered with CEDC over the years to reach the common goal of providing affordable housing to those in need.