"We cannot seek achievement for ourselves and forget about progress and prosperity for our community... Our ambitions must be broad enough to include the aspirations and needs of others, for their sake and for our own." CESAR CHAVEZ
What is the creating futures for farmworkers in Western Washington Initiative?
- Housing to give stability;
- Social services to give confidence and hope; and
- Community development to build bridges of respect.
Catholic Housing Services (CHS) and Gloria Burton, CHS Director of Farmworker Housing, began the "Creating Futures Initiative" to bring awareness for and support to the workforce that supports Western Washington's valuable agricultural industry.
Mission and Vision
To address the full spectrum of housing and related needs of the farmworker community in Western Washington.
To demonstrate to the broader community, investors, partners and philanthropists that different investments and collaborations will produce.
The purpose of this website is to advocate for and support Western Washington's farmworker community. We do this, in part, by providing information about this community, the challenges they face, and our work to meet those challenges. Our hope is that this awareness will inspire you to partner with us as we work to build strong, stable farmworker communities that contribute both economically and socially to the broader community. Please join us to create a lasting impact in our local communities by donating and spreading awareness in your community. Please support our efforts, click here to make a donation.
Who Are Our Farmworkers?
Workforce of men and women who pick crops by hand; the backbone of our nation’s food system, and yet an invisible workforce in our communities.
More than a quarter of a million people are employed in agriculture industry. 77% are families, 58% of these families include children, and 79% permanently reside in Washington.
- The average annual income for a farmworker family of four is $17,600. There is not enough affordable rental housing available. 30% live in severely substandard housing, 32% live in overcrowded housing, and 8% are homeless or living in their cars.
- 7,000 new units of permanent housing and 12,000 units of seasonal housing are needed in Western Washington. Currently, CHS is developing 25 to 74 units per year. At this rate, it would take 140 years to meet the current farmworker housing demand.
What Services Do We Provide?
"We believe in every person having a safe and affordable place to call home." You have helped us to provide safe and affordable housing like Villa Los Milagros in the southwest region and Villa Santa Maria in the northwest region. To view our southwest properties, click here. For more information on our northwest properties, click here.
"We believe in compassion, love and respect for all people, especially those who are poor and vulnerable."
Through this initiative we are helping individuals and families of the farmworker community learn life skills, financial literacy and community leadership, helping them gain perspective and make dreams of stability and hope for the future a reality.
With your support, CHS is able to help empower residents and families by promoting health, education and economic opportunities:
- Monthly field trips for youth in partnership with North Cascades Institute, the U.S. Forest Service and Mount Vernon Police Department
- Leadership workshops
- ESL/GED classes - conversation group club
- Assistance with job search
- Assistance with small business start-up
- Weekly after-school homework club; extra tutoring, connecting parents with schools; scholarships for extracurricular activities.
- Community garden available for all residents
- Advocate for residents (legal, medical, education, mental health)
- Circle of women crafting group
In addition, Catholic Community Services of Western Washington offers the following in the northwest and southwest regions.
"We believe in healthy family life being affirmed and supported in our communities." by building bridges of respect, trust and communication. In the past, you have helped us create hope and yield positive results.
- Transforming - Providing safe and affordable housing to almost 500 families and stability to more than 2,000 individuals.
- Impressive - 40% of children participated in the homework club | 50 children worked 100 hours on eight art pieces for the community |35% of the youth participated in 14 field trips and are interested in going to college to continue their eduction.
- Empowering - 5% of the residents started businesses or sold handcrafts.
- Successful - 3% of residents purchased their first home | there have been positive changes within the community | those once in opposition are now our advocates.
Your Participation at Work - Transforming Communities
"We are convinced that when people hear stories of the lives they have helped to improve, they want to do more, not less." BILL GATES
- Read what Nancy, a 10 year old resident of Le Casa de San Jose writes.
- Leonor, her husband and 3 children live at La Casa de la Familia Santa. Read more about their story...
- Miranda and her 3 children live at San Juan Diego II. Click here to read more...
- Read more about Samual, a single father with two daughters and a son, living at Villa San Martin.
- Officer Jon Gerondale, Kulshan Creek Neighborhood Officer for the Mount Vernon Police writes... "Through the partnership the Mount Vernon Police Department has developed over the past few years with CHS staff and the families CHS serves, a number of innovative projects and programs have evolved that have had significant positive impacts in the community."
- Maria Elena, a single mother of two children resides at Villa los Milagros. Read more of her story...