HALF MOON BAY, Calif. (KGO) -- The mass shooting in Half Moon Bay highlighted the concerning living conditions of thousands of farmworkers. ABC7 News reporter Luz Pena spoke to city officials on how they plan to help this community with housing.
As farmworkers are still processing the nightmare inside California Terra Garden and Concord Farms, the conditions of how many of them lived on these properties is now the focus.
"It is sad. It should not be a tragedy to make change happen. It shouldn't take seven people to lose their lives. To make things like this happen. It's unfortunate that people try to ignore what is happening in their communities until it really hits them," said Joaquin Jimenez, Half Moon Bay's Vice Mayor.
At California Terra Garden previously known as Mountain Mushroom Farm, at least eight families lived in trailers and mobiles homes.
According to San Mateo County Supervisor Ray Mueller who has been to the farm, there was no running water and conditions were "deplorable." Half Moon Bay's Vice Mayor Joaquin Jimenez knew the victims and the shooter. He believes the poor conditions played a role.
"It's all related. Think about our mental health. You work long hours, you want to go home and rest. You can't. You can't rest well because it's crowded. It happens all the time. Many farmworkers, they self-medicate to cope," said Jimenez.
San Mateo County Supervisor Ray Mueller is working with Jimenez and other officials on providing housing for all the families at the two farms.
"Short-term, there is a plan to go ahead and provide them with housing. That would be free of charge. That would be for the next month. After that, we are looking at an intermediate plan to house them," said Ray Mueller, San Mateo County Supervisor.
We met Jimenez outside an old nursery where Jimenez says the county is considering to build at least 50 housing units and provide resources for farmworkers.
"There is the possibility for community members to start their own business as a nursery owner. It could be a distribution center for farmers in the coast," said Jimenez.
Moonridge is the only affordable housing complex for agricultural families in San Mateo County. Vice Mayor Jimenez says they need more places like Moonridge. According to Jimenez, there are 1,500 agricultural workers living in crowded conditions in the San Mateo County coast.
Alfredo Diaz was on a housing waitlist for two years. He now lives at Moonridge, but for years lived at the farm where he worked.
"Si esta dificil. (It's difficult.) Para estar ganando lo minimo. (When you are making minimum wage.) Esta dificil. (It's difficult)," said Diaz.
Mueller says sadly this tragedy is bringing change.
"In this circumstance, we were actually able to see some conditions that we were not happy with. It certainly accelerated the process," said Supervisor Mueller.
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