Atascadero adding low-cost housing for farm workers

August 6, 2017

From low-income farm workers, the Corporation for Better Housing is now accepting applications for apartments at the Knolls at the Avenida in Atascadero.

Located off Avenida Maria in south Atascadero, construction of the first phase of the 86 unit project began in Jan. 2016. Phase one includes 22 two-bedroom units, 24 three-bedroom units and 14 four-bedroom units.

The U. S. Department of Agriculture contributed $3 million to the first phase of the project, in addition to tax credits. The Corporation for Better Housing is a non-profit organization.

The development is touted as the first net-zero-energy project in San Luis Obispo County, meaning the total amount of energy used by the building on an annual basis is roughly equal to the amount of renewable energy created at the development. Solar panels on the apartments are slated to generate enough energy to power the units.


There are programs for seniors on subsidized incomes. There is also the Section 8 housing. There just isn’t enough. I’d like to see more affordable housing for everyone on the Central Coast, but I don’t see anything wrong with this project, as everyone deserves a safe place to live. And not all agricultural workers are illegal.

If you haven’t seen some of the death trap rentals in this county that house several farmworking families – they are pretty awful. I’d guess these farm workers are employed at local wineries. Farmers have tried in the past to build their own housing, but the last guy’s project got torched down in Nipomo. Welcome to the community folks! We don’t mind you picking our food and contributing to our local economy by shopping at our markets,etc. but hey…you don’t deserve a safe place to live.


If farmers paid a living wage, subsidized housing for full time employed people wouldn’t be necessary. This is farmer welfare in my opinion. If the federal government subsidized my employees I would be very wealthy and could finally afford a brand new pick up truck like farmers drive. Where is the fairness in treatment of Americans by the government?


I don’t disagree with anything you say. If all farms were prohibited from using illegal labor, then all would be on even ground and could compete against each other. If farmers paid a better wage, maybe plenty of Americans would want to work in the fields, too. As it is now, I’d bet many workers are paid under the table and the farmer avoids having to pay medicare and SS taxes, thus breaking the law by employing illegals in the first place. Until the playing field is leveled, it’s going to be a problem.

The bottom line is that wages aren’t keeping up with the cost of living anywhere, but particularly with farm workers. There just needs to be more subsidized housing in general. In researching what farm workers make, their average yearly wage is $10K-$12K, or $17K for an entire family. The federal poverty line is $22K for a family.

There’s a great story online about the town of Spreckles, CA and how they solved the affordable housing problem for the farm workers they rely heavily on in that area.


Is the land located off Avenida Maria in south Atascadero more affordable than the land in the rest of Atascadero? and what gives the USDA the authority to spend our tax dollars in this manner?

I got it…How about affordable housing partially financed by the USDA for local residents that have labored to pay local taxes their entire life?

This special treatment must stop.


You can get a home loan through the USDA in Atascadero under their Rural Home Loan Program (USDA Rural Development Loan). Look it up! If the home you want to buy falls within their definition of a “rural area” which Atascadero does you can possibly qualify for a home loan with 0% down and 100% of the purchase price financed:…/six-california-communities-now-eligible-usda-housing-pr…

I think you have to meet certain income guidelines (low to medium income) but you kind found that out by going to:


Thanks for the info….hows that new QB doing?


New QB? Goff ain’t “new” anymore! I think after watching some film from practices and 11 on 11 from the Chargers scrimmage a lot has to do with two things: one, offensive line performance (both with pass protection and the run. (If they can run block for Gurley it’ll make the pass game better and if they can block for Goff better then no more stackin’ the box which in turn would free up Gurley) and two, receiver performance (no clear cut deep threat yet). I look forward to Thursday Night just to get a glimpse.

Look into USDA Loans, I have! And I expect in about a year I will have repaired my credit score enough (damn divorce BS) that I’ll more than qualify for one, especially where I’ve recently moved to (one of the largest counties in Oregon with a total population of around 7,500). Currently I live on a 100 acre personal “ranch”, renting a 600sqft studio apartment attached to the detached garage of a 1785sqft custom built home. I moved here for both the atmosphere and the real possibility of buying land (depending on location about $4,000 an acre on average) and having a home built on a very affordable and easily obtained loans (including grants for down payment assistance) from the USDA.

It may be tough for some Californios to comprehend the thought of having to travel almost a 100 miles to the closest Walmart but out here it’s just the norm. I love it! You can listen to the peace and quite…


Want to bet most of them will work in the wine making i.e. Vineyards,winemaking etc. why a four bedroom that means there will be a lot of kids going to our already over crowded schools at who’s cost? The tax payer is stuck again.If the winemakers want the employees let them furnish bunk houses for men only no family members.Better yet tell the able bodied work the jobs that are here no more hand outs .LBJs great society at work.

George Bailey

This so-called ‘farmworker housing’ is a farce, and shame on the Atascadero city council for perpetrating fraud on local taxpayers. The idea that the housing stock is reserved for ‘farmworkers’ is just to add insult to injury, so the local taxpaying citizenry has been ripped off once again.

Atascadero Mayor Tom O’Malley is wrong to allow this project to go forward as it is, and we demand a change to allow all income-legible CITIZENS to apply for rental space. To make it for ‘farmworkers’ is code for Mexicans, and farmworkers is just meant to signal to whites to not even think about applying for space in the program.

Folks, I say let’s reject Sanctuary City politics, reject the failed leadership of Atascadero Mayor Tom O’Malley, and reject race-based discrimination.

Enough is enough.



Welcome to Atascadero…


How is it legal to give farm workers a housing preference, isn’t that a form of discrimination?

There many people that need reasonable cost housing in this county, why should it matter what they do for a living?


Farm workers = Hispanic = perpetually oppressed victims

Leftist logic


even if your allegations were true, where would you wish the encumbrances to go? Maybe Salinas, Santa Maria?


Not quite sure I understand … are you suggesting that if we don’t misuse these tax dollars someone else will beat us to the punch. If this is the premise it is symptomatic of the problems we face as a nation. We bitch about the government mismanaging our tax money but when it comes to our own community we are first in line to dip into the pot of $$$$


This is what people refer to as “free money.” This “free money” that politicians like to give away in order to promote themselves is the hard earned money that most of us work for and then is, looking for the proper word, for the most part is stolen from us thru excessive fees, high taxes, high salaries, benefit packages, increased bonds and ridiculous fines, ($40 parking tickets in SLO). Letting these people get away with this is just a reversible action of draining the swamp, it’s just adding more crap to the swamp.

All you have to do is take the number of units being built and divide it into the total cost of the project and you will see that these government subsidized affordable housing units cost us, the taxpayer, 2-3 times more than what private developers can build the units for. Simply put it’s corruption.

Nice to see you back Mike letting the people know about what is really going on in Atascadero.


This has little to do with providing housing for farm workers. Its just another grab of taxpayer money. The money is funneled from the Dept of Agriculture through the nonprofit, Corporation for Affordable Housing.

Although the city will promise safeguards to assure that occupancy will meet the mandated restrictions, In the end those restrictions will be ignored just like they were in the case of some of Kelly Gearhart’s low income housing which were occupied by friends and family.

The system is corrupt, but City officials are desperate for revenue, so this is a public money grab just like when they tried to get FEMA money for the rotunda building, claiming 7 million dollars damage to a foundation that was already damaged prior to the earthquake.

Crooked is as crooked does !!!!!!

O’Malley and company are grifters … Plain and Simple.


Can I ask who O’Malley is as I can’t find the name anywhere connected with the Corporation for Better Housing?


id you mean Atascadero’s Mayor Tom O’Malley? How is he linked to this? Show some links please as I can’t find his name anywhere linked to this project.


I found him, never mind! Sorry for my confusion…. He signed off on the project.


Of course he signed off on it … just like he signed off on the multi million dollar pedestrian bridge that ends up 25 feet from his property on West Mall that increases the property value … so crooked !!!


O’Malley is as unethical as they come. The ethics course that politicians have to take every 2 years states that the actions of O’Malley may technically be legal it states that it is unethical and should not be done. O’Malley has used thousands of dollars of taxpayers money utilizing the city attorney to figure out how to wiggle his way thru the system for years.

Granted his Portola Inn is a beautiful venue but I dare anyone to try to get approval for a similar project in a residential neighborhood.


Once again Mike you are 100% correct. During the hearings for this project there was no mention of farm workers. The city suffers from the lack of any type of income and will do whatever they need to in order to collect their fees to keep up with the 75% of the budget for payroll and to keep paying for the unfunded vacation and sick leave package that McKinney and Reichert put together. This has led to $1.6 million in unfunded costs along with the $18 million unfunded PERS. People in Atascadero should start asking questions and demanding answers before it all caves in. To put it simply, you can’t spend more, the last 12 years, than what you make. At some point they will not even be able to work the books anymore.


Headline: Atascadero adding low-cost housing for gang members.

There are no farms in Atascadero.


You mean white gang members right? Because if there’s no farms well of course that means no Mexican gang members, right?

You and those who gave an up vote to your off color and racial comment are the problem in SLO, not the hard working folks who work those farms IN AND AROUND Atascadero.

Get out of the house some there sloweb! You’ll find the world is not full of gang members around every corner and the vast majority of Latin people are not gang members. And if you just go to Atascadero you’ll realize that in fact there are farms in that city…

Prejudice partnered with ignorance is a sure combination for stupid ass fear and the weapon of stupid ass fear mongering racists…


Someone needs to ask O’Malley if this is a prelude of Atascadero becoming and open area for the cultivation of Marijuana and the tax that they can put on it? Is this the reason for the farm workers?