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Rep. Adam Schiff visits Half Moon Bay to learn about needs of farmworkers

Updated: Sep 25, 2023

Friday, August 25, 2023 5:54PM

HALF MOON BAY, Calif. (KGO) -- U.S. Representative Adam Schiff visited Half Moon Bay Thursday to learn about the needs of farmworkers.

During a roundtable discussion, Pedro Romero Perez told the Schiff in Spanish that he lived through January's mass shooting in Half Moon Bay and lost his brother.

San Mateo County Board of Supervisor Ray Mueller hosted the congressman during his visit to the nonprofit ALAS, which helps farmworkers.

"We brought together policy experts, but we also brought together people who are just living this experience every day to go ahead and talk with the congressman," Mueller said.

The farmworkers' struggles were brought to light after the mass shooting, including the need for more mental health services and the deplorable living conditions of farmworkers and their families.

"We need a national housing policy that addresses housing challenges in every community in the country," Schiff said. "If those challenges look different in the community from one to another, but they all point to the need to build much more housing, to build it more quickly, to build it more cheaply, to make sure that we bring down the cost of housing dramatically."

ALAS Executive Director Dr. Belinda Hernandez-Arriaga said there is movement on farmworker housing, including:

"A property at Stone Pine with the city of Half Moon Bay that Supervisor Mueller is working on for affordable housing, especially for those farmworkers that were part of the tragedy," they said.

"Unfortunately, it feels like time is not on our side because we needed this so long ago," Hernandez-Arriaga said. "We need this now. But we are seeing that change is coming."

"We've been doing a ton of work here in San Mateo County to go ahead and build farmworker housing," Mueller said.

Hernandez-Arriaga said they're seeing more demand for their popup food pantry than ever, adding that the rising rent and food prices, as well as the winter storms' impact on agriculture are playing a big role.

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