The Hollister Migrant Housing Center is a place that is open to families from the months of May through November. This center provides subsidized housing to migrant agricultural working families. There are a total of 67 housing units which house close to 250 individuals. There are close to 85 children under the age of 18 who live at the center. 100% of the population identify themselves as Latino or Hispanic. These are hard working families with children, who sometimes struggle with the transition every 6 months. The purpose of the Migrant Housing Center is to provide safe, decent, and affordable seasonal rental housing and support services for migrant farmworker families during the peak harvest season.
The Hollister Migrant Housing Center is funded by the Office of Migrant Services (OMS) which is a branch off Housing and Community Development (HCD). The County of San Benito Health and Human Services Agency administers the program. The Hollister Migrant Center has been open to working agricultural families since the 1970’s. The units were remodeled in the mid-1990’s. There are 60 Two-Bedroom units and 7 Three-Bedroom units. Each unit has their own private bathroom and kitchen.
The families migrate mostly from Arizona, Texas and Mexico. The families move here to work and then return to their home for 6 months only to come back for another 6 months. Every year, the center has over 30 families on a waiting list. There is a very big demand for affordable housing for the migrant, agricultural working population.
Many families struggle with finding affordable housing that not only accommodates the workers but also their families. It is a struggle for the families to be constantly on the move, migrating to follow the agricultural growing season. It is a struggle for the children to be taken out and put in to a different school, many times not being able to finish the semester at one school. It is a struggle to find daycare for the children. It is a struggle for some families to find transportation. Luckily, the families at the Migrant Housing Center are resilient and pull resources together. They find ways to overcome obstacles. Resources are provided to the families to help them have the best quality of life possible while living at the Center.
Example of Services Provided
This is a very tight knit community and the residents do look after each other. There is no daycare facility on-site so many of the families will watch over their neighbor’s children while the parents are at work. There are several resources available to the families. In a typical year (2020 Pandemic being an exception) the families receive the following resources:
- Migrant Education: Representatives from Migrant Education check in with the parents and make sure that their children attend school on a daily basis as well as provide them with flexible schedules due to the fact that the Migrant Center closes prior to the end of the student’s semester.
- Health Education: The residents receive health education through seminars as well as a Health Fair, doctor’s and dentist’s will show up to provide free cleanings and check-ups.
- Girl Scouts: The Girl Scouts come 3 times a week and do fun activities with the girls to keep them busy over the summer time.
- Bookmobile: The County Library brings a bookmobile for kids and adults to check out books.
- Church Groups: There are multiple church organizations that provide services such as bible study to actual health services and other activities for the whole family. The Catholic Church provides First Communion classes free of charge to the children.
- First 5 San Benito: Families are able to register for various programs offered by First5 San Benito. Typically, First 5 will come out to the center a few times a year to give presentations and offer services on-site.
- Community FoodBank of San Benito: Typically, the FoodBank delivers to the families every Saturday.
Over the winter months the Migrant Center operates as the County of San Benito Family Winter Shelter. There is a waiting list and clients can call CSWD staff at (831) 637-9293 to be placed on the list.
Office of Migrant Services (OMS)
For more information regarding rules, regulations and other Office of Migrant Services information please see the following: