Prototype Home Can Help Future Farm Workers

Farm Worker

The Department of Housing and Urban Development unveiled the prototype two-bedroom home at the Florida Agriculture Expo near Wimauma today. Karen Riscinto of Clermont Highlands Development says the prototype demonstrates how to produce safe, cost-effective housing for migrant farm workers. She explained how the construction process works.

RISCINTO: The panels are brought in, they're manufactured at a plant. They're put on a slab,which is normal construction. But the difference is these panels are soundproof, you have mold resistance, fire retardant and the building itself is category four hurricane resistant.

The entire building can be assembled in less than a week and at a cost of less than $100 per square foot.

Manatee County tomato grower Jay Taylor helped promote the effort. Taylor says the agriculture industry now faces much more competition for workers and he hopes other growers will realize the advantages of providing safe and stable housing for their employees.

TAYLOR: With the hospitality industry, with the construction industry,we have an employment package out there that is attractive for our employees to be a part of. So quality, affordable housing is a key ingredient of that.

HUD coordinators hope the prototype will provide a model of safe, inexpensive, hurricane resistant homes for farm laborers and other low-wage workers.

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