Governor Kate Brown Announces Launch of New Programs to Assist Oregon Agricultural Workers
Agricultural workers who are recuperating from COVID-19 or are in self-quarantine may now apply to the Quarantine Fund through local community-based partners. The fund is administered by the Oregon Worker Relief Coalition, working in collaboration with state agencies and the Governor’s Office.
“This pandemic has exacerbated disparities in our systems that already existed—especially for low-income communities, rural communities, immigrants, and communities of color,” said Governor Kate Brown. “Oregonians working in agriculture and food processing are providing a vital service, ensuring families continue to have food on their tables and grocery store shelves during this pandemic. And yet, the nature of this work puts agricultural and food processing workers at higher risk of exposure to COVID-19.”
The Quarantine Fund has been designed as a policy centered on the lived experience of Oregon’s agricultural workers. With an average wage of $24,200 per year, most agricultural workers cannot afford to take time off to quarantine if they come in contact with COVID-19. Time and again, food packing and agriculture worksites are overrepresented in workplace outbreaks tracked by the Oregon Health Authority.
“Many in our state’s agricultural workforce are immigrants who have been left out of federal relief programs, creating additional financial stress for families,” said Reyna Lopez, Executive Director at PCUN, Oregon’s Farmworker Union.”
Agricultural workers can apply for relief through local community-based organizations here or by calling 1-888-274-7292.
The Community Partners and Outreach – Protecting Oregon Farmworkers Program will provide funding for community partners with demonstrated experience serving migrant and seasonal farmworkers to conduct field education and outreach. The program will also support community partners in engagement activities aimed to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 and provide agricultural workers with information on housing, transportation, the Quarantine Fund, and other wraparound services developed in response to the pandemic.
“Governor Brown’s strong efforts to address the COVID-19 crisis within the farming community of Oregon has enabled state agencies, including OHA, to provide services to those communities on the front line,” said Oliver Vera, OHA Community Partner Outreach Program Manager. “At OHA, community partnerships are essential to ensure we reach Oregon farmworkers to mitigate the harmful impact of this disease on Oregon’s workers and its food supply.”
Additional information about the OHA Community Partner Outreach Program (CPOP) is available at bit.ly/2CY5OYA .