U.S. Congressman Dan Newhouse took the opportunity to visit the new Brender Creek seasonal farmworker housing complex in Cashmere while in Washington State this week.
The Washington Growers League, a non-profit organization based in Yakima, held the official opening of its $6 million housing facility on May 6.
“It’s a welcome addition,” Newhouse said. “Housing is a huge issue for farmworkers and anything we can do to help give them a better place to live—I’m all for it.”
The housing complex was constructed by Walker Construction of Spokane and funded primarily with a grant from the Housing Trust Fund of the Washington State Department of Commerce. It involved public and private partnerships.
Mike Gempler, executive director of the growers league, said investing in the workforce helps everyone. “We have a lot of respect for the people who come on a seasonal basis and do the very hard work of pruning, and tying, and training, and picking, and getting our products to market. They need a place that’s secure, safe, and comfortable, and we’re happy to be providing that.”
The facility is designed to house up to 200 people. In addition to living areas and kitchens, it has a playground, games area, covered outdoor eating area, barbecue pits, and laundry. The architectural firm, Environmental Works of Seattle, designed it with the overriding concept of building a community. The first residents will move in later this month.