In wake of tragedy, 50-acre lot to be turned into Half Moon Bay farmworker housing and co-op

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Wednesday, January 10, 2024
50-acre lot to be turned into HMB farmworker housing, co-op center
The San Mateo County Board of Supervisors voted on Tuesday to buy a 50-acre lot that will be turned into farmworker housing and a co-op center.

HALF MOON BAY, Calif. (KGO) -- The San Mateo County Board of Supervisors voted on Tuesday to buy a 50-acre lot that will be turned into farmworker housing and a co-op center.

ABC7 News spoke to the local leaders behind this purchase that will make a difference for the farm-working community almost a year after the mass shooting in Half Moon Bay.

It's a 50-acre nursery that has been closed since 2019 and soon it can become a center for farmworkers to live and grow their own businesses.

"It's an amazing first step," said Ray Mueller, San Mateo County Supervisor. "It isn't that often that that much land comes along to really go ahead and lift up farmworkers and make sure they live in safe and healthy housing and to build that distribution co-op center which will really support the agricultural industry on the coast."

WATCH: 'Hidden Crisis: Tragedy in Half Moon Bay'

The mass shooting in Half Moon Bay exposed the deplorable living conditions that some farmworkers endured. Now, officials are looking for a solution.

The San Mateo County Board of Supervisors voted to buy the lot for $9 million. This is in response to the deplorable housing conditions that surfaced almost a year ago after seven farmworkers were killed during a mass shooting in Half Moon Bay.

After visiting the mushroom farms where the shootings took place, Supervisor Mueller has been behind this and a second site for months.

"After the mass shooting happened I went and I looked at where the farmworkers were living at that site and then we put together a task force that went and inspected every ranch," said Supervisor Mueller. "We came to the conclusion that if you really want to go ahead and make an impact and provide housing you need to build it at scale and you take that burden off the farms and ranches."

Their plan is to build at least 100 units of housing for farmworkers at this site.

"What does it mean that this decision was made almost a year since the mass shooting? It means a lot," said Joaquin Jimenez, Mayor of Half Moon Bay. "It's something that you won't be able to explain. The feeling of it. How things are happening in our community. Are we really doing things? Yes we are and this is proof."

VIDEO: Half Moon Bay shooting: San Mateo Co. plans on building housing for farmworkers

San Mateo County is considering on building at least 50 housing units in Half Moon Bay to house farmworkers living in "deplorable" conditions.

Mayor Jimenez's dream has been to create a co-op that would also turn farmworkers into farmers and this site will be used for that.

"You have the opportunity to triple and maybe even quadruple your business your income. That has been the vision," said Mayor Jimenez. "All the infrastructure is pretty much here already. Water connection, electricity. Pretty much everything is here."

The county has until July 15 to make sure the site is up to standard before the actual purchase, but for now, this vote is a sign of hope.

"The fact that the Board of Supervisors has approved this funding to go towards housing for agricultural workers is a dream come true," said Luis Enrique "Kique" Bazan, ALAS board member.

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