Seasonal Housing Project Helps Solve a Critical Need

– By Dennis Rahm

A $3-million award from the State Department of Commerce will help build a 160-bed seasonal farmworker housing facility in Chelan. The Washington Farm Labor Association (WAFLA) will use the funding on the construction of ten separate 16-bed stick-built buildings. The housing facilities will be located on a 5-acre parcel, owned by Chelan Fruit, which is part of a 45-acre old orchard site off Wilmorth Drive.

Note: Colbert points to the actual building site in the featured pictured above

As contributors to the project, Chelan Fruit is making the property available on a long term, low cost lease. WAFLA is now in the early stages of permitting and design.

Each 16-bed building will have a full kitchen.

Jim Colbert, Director of Business Relations at Chelan Fruit, says “the hope is to break ground on the project in mid to late summer for occupancy in 2019″.

Colbert says similar projects have been built and are operating successfully, including one north of Pasco that has been operating for several years. A similar project is currently under construction in the Okanogan-Omak area.

Colbert says there is a critical need for ag related workforce housing and that Chelan Fruit is excited to be involved in this project.

Click below for Colbert’s comments

A bathhouse / washroom is included in each unit.

In addition to the ten housing units, the project will also include housing for an on-site manger and a community center. Long term plans will feature outdoor gazebos and a possible soccer field.

While some of the beds may be used year-round, the majority will be utilized during the main working season of April 1 into early November covering the cherry and apple seasons.

The buildings are constructed by Simplicity Homes based in Redmond, Oregon and on average turnkey costs are about $115,000 each. When completed, the housing will be made available on a first come basis to workers of all growers in the area.