FHDC was founded in 1990 when several community organizations and individuals joined forces to establish an agency for the development of affordable housing for low-income farmworkers.
Recognizing the vital contribution of farmworkers to our economy, the mission of FHDC is to develop farmworker leadership for stronger and more secure families and communities through affordable housing, social services, education, and economic development.
The mission is carried out by pursuing the following goals:
To develop and manage affordable housing located within urban growth boundaries.
To provide social and educational services that promote personal and economic self-sufficiency
To included farmworkers in decision-making and ongoing project management
To develop and support the leadership of farmworkers within the larger community
To build and strengthen community partnership
In 1992 FHDC started the development of our first housing project, Nuevo Amanecer, amid fierce opposition from some community leaders who preferred to see farmworkers segregated in labor camps. We opened our doors to 50 families in 1994.
In 1995 FHDC started the development of a second housing project in downtown Woodburn, long the heart of the Latino farmworker community. As expected, there was community opposition, and this time from key city officials, which delayed the construction for almost two years. It took the mobilization of farmworkers and residents who testified at public hearings for the site plan approval of Esperanza Court, a complex of 12 two-bedroom units. Esperanza Court opened in 1997.
In March of 1999 we completed the construction of Nuevo Amanecer Phase II, adding 40 more apartments. Nuevo Amanecer now houses a large community of 90 farmworker families, roughly 500 individuals.
FHDC has long recognized that providing adequate affordable housing is only the first step in securing a better future for farmworker families. Affordable housing alone is not sufficient to remove farmworker families from the cycle of poverty which so often prevents them from being the active, engaged community participants that they can be. FHDC’s goal of providing educational opportunities and leadership training and experience to farmworker families was part of the initial vision of our founders, but did not fully become a reality until the summer of 2003 when FHDC developed its first community center, the Cipriano Ferrel Education Center (CFEC), in Woodburn as Nuevo Amanecer’s Phase III. Cipriano Ferrel, who worked closely with Cesar Chavez until Chavez’ death in 1993, was a co-founder of FHDC, and FHDC’s first staff community organizer.
In 2001 FHDC began construction of 6 single family homes (Villa del Sol)located on one acre of land within the Woodburn urban growth boundary. These attractive and spacious three bedroom, two bath homes were completed and sold to farmworkers for below market-rates.
In 2004, with the support of the City of Salem afterward, FHDC began construction of the first farmworker housing project built in that city. This new community, Colonia Libertad, opened in June, 2005 and provides a home to 48 farmworker families. Several local organizations serving Latinos including: Mano a Mano Family Center, Salem-Keizer Coalition for Equality, and Latinos Unidos Siempre (LUS), are housed on-site and provide family support services, do parent organizing around education, and provide healthy alternatives for youth.
In 2004 FHDC began development on another housing project in an underserved community in the Mid-Willamette Valley, Colonia Amistad. Ground breaking for Colonia Amistad, a 38-apartment housing complex, occurred in June of 2006. Again, there was community opposition to FHDC’s latest project. When the sitting Mayor of Independence threw his support behind this project community opposition was quickly overcome.
Colonia Amistad was completed in the summer of 2007. Two of these beautiful apartments contain an extra 180 square feet set aside for child care, thus improving the economic prospects of families at Amistad and providing qualified care to children whose parents may wish or need to work. FHDC and residents of Colonia Amistad are active community participants in education issues and their community’s safety.
In August of 2010 FHDC was awarded grant funding through the OHCS to acquire, preserve, and rehab two existing affordable housing projects: Summerset Village (Sublimity, Oregon), Westside Apartments (Stayton, Oregon). Each of the projects has 24 units. The rehabs of the projects were completed in winter and spring of 2012.
In March 2013, FHDC completed Nuevo Amanecer Phase IV, a 40-unit apartment complex that serves year-round farmworkers and their families. With the addition of Phase IV, the total number of units at the Nuevo Amanecer site now serves 130 farmworker families that includes 347 children. Also on-site are Cipriano Ferrel Education Center and resident community gardens.
In August 2014, FHDC took over from where Salem Keizer Community Development Corporation left off in the development of Garden City Apartments, a 20-unit new construction development for farmworker families in Silverton. FHDC worked with CASA of Oregon to finalize and secure funding from USDA Rural Development and Oregon Housing and Community Services in April 2016. Construction started shortly thereafter and is projected for completion in April 2017.
In April 2016, FHDC officially launched Evolve Workforce and Multifamily Housing Services (Evolve), an outgrowth of FHDC’s own property management. Evolve responds to the community identified need to improve the economic well-being and health of historically disadvantaged low income people living in the Willamette Valley, especially farmworkers and their families. By expanding its long term, successful job training and employment program within Evolve, the new organization creates a path from agricultural and other low wage employment to living wage jobs in property management and maintenance. Evolve is a separate non-profit with its own 501(c)3 status.
For the latest developments at FHDC, read some of the current stories of FHDC housing and residents.