Farmworker Housing

California is the largest producer of agricultural goods in the country and is one of the largest agricultural producing regions in the world. Farmworkers play a key role in the operation and delivery of the state’s food system. Despite this, farmworkers face a number of economic disadvantages compared to California’s population as a whole.

Farmworkers tend to have low incomes; higher risk of living in poverty; and limited access to safe, healthy, and affordable housing choices. Farmworker analysis and related programs are a required part of local housing planning (housing elements) for regions with a farmworker presence.

To further understand farmworker housing needs, HCD launched a statewide study on December 1, 2023, under AB 1654 (Rivas, 2022). The study includes a demographic survey and an analysis of farmworker households. The goal is to provide data to inform policy and housing development decisions to improve farmworker living conditions and increase availability of affordable farmworker housing in California. Findings from the report will help to inform a comprehensive strategy for farmworker housing.

For more information on the study, please email

In addition to policy work on farmworker housing, HCD administers many services to California’s farmworkers including the following programs which focus specifically on the farmworker population: 

Recent efforts to support the OMS program include:

Office of Migrant Services – Migrant Farmworker Center Improvements: In an effort to preserve vital migrant farmworker housing resources, California’s 2021-22 Budget Act provided $30 million in General Fund appropriation for critical and deferred maintenance projects at the OMS centers.

Office of Migrant Services – Water Conservation Grant: As part of the Drought State of Emergency declared January 17, 2014, Governor Brown charged the California Department of General Services (DGS) with "immediate implementation of water reduction plans for all state facilities." DGS made $513,155 available for OMS centers as part of an interagency agreement with HCD. HCD subsequently increased each OMS center's operating budget to fund water improvements such as water-efficient showerheads and toilets.