Residential overcrowding has become a serious problem in Oxnard as soaring land prices dry up the supply of affordable housing. Almost half of the households in the city
are considered low-income, and there were about 6,500 overcrowded households, which are defined as residences with more than one person per room. What is the solution?
Marco Antonio Abarca Attorney, California Rural Legal Assistance Migrant Unit There is a General Plan coming out now, and it has to reflect the community. But only three of 22 people on the General Plan advisory committee are Latinos. I think this overcrowding problem is a Mexican-Latino
issue. You have to have some contributions from that community. As it is now, there is no contribution. If you look at the General Plan, you see a real favoring of interests--big developments, big new condos and houses--and the problems of farm workers are ignored. Unless we make moves right now, you're going to see farm worker poor turn to urban poor. I've lived in different parts of the United States. I've traveled all over Latin America. Some of the poorest housing I've seen is here in Oxnard. I have clients who are farm workers who say they may be very poor in Mexico but at least they have space. There are funds out there for farm worker housing that should be tapped. This county has two or three beautiful farm worker housing developments. Cabrillo Village is beautiful and the housing they have in Fillmore is tremendous. That is the sort of future we should have. I think in the past a lot of what Oxnard has done has been to say, well, we have too many farm workers here, let's just distribute them to Ventura, Camarillo or Fillmore or anywhere else. No one wants to have them in their own back yard. But the reality is that farm workers are here in Oxnard. It's an Oxnard problem that has to be solved by Oxnard.