The majority of residents in the Eastern Coachella Valley are agricultural worker families that contribute approximately $430 million dollars annually in agriculture to the region. Yet, they live in pervasive poverty with challenging water and wastewater conditions and few economic opportunities.
This week, two measures from Assemblymember Eduardo Garcia, D-Coachella, that would significantly improve living conditions in the Eastern Coachella Valley passed their final legislative hurdle before making their way to Gov. Brown”s desk. The bills, AB 2056 and AB 2060, increase accessibility to mobile home repair and water infrastructure grants.
Over the years, Garcia has worked in tandem with nonprofit and other local agency partners such as Pueblo Unido Community Development Corporation to advance policy proposals to address existing disparities in the rural, unincorporated areas of his district. AB 2056 which would expand usage of the Mobile Home Park Purchase Fund and AB 2060 that allows for advanced payments on water infrastructure project funds are both products of these regional collaborations.
“Our hard-working, Eastern Coachella Valley, predominantly farmworker families whose back-breaking labor shoulders our robust agricultural economy, have long lacked adequate housing and water infrastructure. AB 2056 and AB 2060 go hand-in-hand to help improve the ability of rural, unincorporated areas to address these striking disparities. Increased access to these state grants will empower our mobile home communities with the means to move forward with water infrastructure, meet safe drinking water standards, and other necessary home improvement projects,” Garcia said in a prepared statement.
Sergio Carranza, Executive Director of Pueblo Unido Pueblo Unido Community Development Corporation, praised Garcia’s efforts for the Eastern Coachella Valley.
“The passing of AB 2056 and AB 2060 is the result of extensive work under the leadership of Assemblyman Garcia,” Carranza said. “These initiatives were originated from farmworkers’ civic engagement and collaborative efforts with local government institutions and non-profit organizations. These two critical bills will leverage critical funding and address substandard housing conditions and lack of infrastructure for our farmworker communities in the eastern Coachella Valley.”
He added that the CDC is “now moving forward to initiate a campaign to bring the community’s support and urge Gov. Brown to sign these bills into law.”
Following is more about the bills:
AB 2056 – Mobile Home Park Purchase Fund: This bill would authorize the department to make loans from the fund to a qualified nonprofit housing sponsor or a local public entity to acquire or rehabilitate a mobile home park where no less than 30 percent of residents are low income. The bill would also authorize the department to make grants from the fund to a resident organization or nonprofit housing sponsor to assist park residents with needed repairs or accessibility upgrades.
AB 2060 – Advanced Water Payments: Requires the Department of Water Resources (DWR) and the State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) to provide advance funding, under specified conditions, of Integrated Regional Water Management Plan (IRWMP) and State Water Pollution Control Revolving Fund Small Community Grant Fund grants. Requires the SWRCB to provide advance funding, under specified conditions, of Proposition 1 bond funding for public water system infrastructure improvements and related actions to meet safe drinking water standards, ensure affordable drinking water, or both.