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City welcomes public input, resources to learn about H-2A temporary worker program

Posted at 5:15 PM, Jun 11, 2018

The city of Santa Maria will host a series of community meetings over the next five months to discuss the H-2A temporary worker program. 

The Federal H-2A program allows American employers or agents to bring in foreign visitors to fill temporary agricultural jobs. 

Advocates and city staff say there is a need for temporary housing for H2A workers. Currently, there are about 1,300 H-2A workers in the Santa Maria area. 

The purpose of the meetings will be to hear from local residents about potential issues with temporary housing, as well as educating them on the program and how it will be conducted in the future. 

"The main pressure – the main push back, if you will – coming from the community is in the low density R-1 neighborhoods," said Philip Sinco, assistant city attorney for Santa Maria. "A lot of the H2A housing units are more crowded than most people in the R-1 districts are comfortable with."

The first meeting will be Thursday from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., at the Atkinson Park Community Center. That address is 1000 N. Railroad Ave., Santa Maria. 

The other meetings will be announced later this month.