FARMWORKER ADVOCACY NETWORK

 

 

 

 

Farmwork Advocacy Network

ACTION ALERT TO IMPROVE MIGRANT HOUSING IN NC
SENATE BILL 1466
HOUSE BILL 1501
HOUSE BILL 1502

| Take Action | Who to Contact | Talking Points | Learn More | About Us |

migrant housing

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ACTION ALERT TO IMPROVE MIGRANT HOUSING IN NC:

ACTION:

    1) Please call, email and write your Senator or Representative to ask that they support improved enforcement of farmworker housing in NC. http://www.ncleg.net/homePage.pl

    2) Organize a small delegation to meet with your elected official when they are in their home community (Friday or Monday afternoon), to ask for support of this campaign.

    3) Distribute migrant housing postcards to your constituents, friends, and co-workers to send to their Senators. Just let us know how many postcards you need.

BACKGROUND:

The Housing Assistance Council (HAC) reports that "farmworkers are among the worst-housed groups in the United States." Of the housing inspected during a HAC survey of farmworker housing on the East Coast, researchers found 38 percent severely inadequate or unfit for human habitation.

One of the main concerns of the Farmworker Advocacy Network (FAN) is the lack of enforcement of the housing standards. Currently, scarce resources of the NC Department of Labor (NC DOL) are not focused on the housing most likely to have problems. And farmworkers are often afraid to complain about poor housing conditions because the housing may be shut down and the workers left homeless. More oversight is needed to ensure that farmworkers live in adequate and safe housing.

Sen. Albertson introduced SB 1466 and Rep. Alexander introduced HB 1501 and HB 1502 this session, which would address some of these concerns by revising the NC Migrant Housing Act for the first time in over 17 years.

About the Farmworker Advocacy Network

The Farmworker Advocacy Network (FAN) is a network of organizations that advocates for improvements in farmworkers' living and working conditions. FAN members include: the Episcopal Farmworker Ministry, Farm Labor Organizing Committee, Farmworker Unit of Legal Aid*, National Farm Worker Ministry, NC Community Health Center Association, NC Justice Center's Immigrants Legal Assistance Project, NC Farmworkers' Project, NC Farmworker Health Program* and Student Action with Farmworkers. *Advisory Members only.

TALKING POINTS

-- The Department of Labor needs more resources to do its job.   Currently, more than half of all farmworker camps are not inspected.

--Our migrant housing standards are out of date. We need to bring the standards up to the 21st century by requiring that beds have mattresses.

--Our resources should be focused on the bad actors who have violated migrant housing laws in the past, by making inspections of those camps a priority.

-- There are good growers who are already complying with the standards; this bill would support the NC DOL's ability to hold growers that are not meeting the standards accountable.

SB 1466, HB 1501, and HB 1502 will address the following priorities:

• Focus on worst operators (prioritizing past violators for post occupancy inspections)

• Update housing standards (ensuring clean and sanitary mattresses on all beds)

• Protect farmworkers (requiring operators to provide alternative housing if current housing is deemed uninhabitable)

• Increasing enforcement (providing additional inspectors for the NC DOL and requiring NC DOL to give a report on housing inspections each year)

FOR MORE INFORMATION: www.migranthousing.net

FAN CONTACTS: Carol Brooke, NC Justice Center, 919-856-2144, carol@ncjustice.org and Melinda Wiggins, Student Action with Farmworkers, 919-660-3616, mwiggins@duke.edu

LOBBY CONTACTS : Bill Rowe, NC Justice Center, 919-856-2177, bill@ncjustice.org and Paula Wolf, El Pueblo, 919-835-1525, wolf@deltaforce.net

WHO TO CONTACT:

MEMBERS OF THE NC HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
http://www.ncga.state.nc.us