THERMAL, Calif. (AP) — Riverside County will use $9.9 million to finish a long-sought move of migrant farm workers from a squalid encampment of trailers on tribal land after winning an appeal, officials said Monday.
The funds will finish Mountain View Estates' 181 housing units. The project has been held up since April, when California rescinded redevelopment funding and brought a sudden end to the departures from the encampment, said County Supervisor John J. Benoit.
Mountain View will provide a new home to residents of Duroville, where thousands of farmworkers live in broken-down trailers without hot water along dirt streets roamed by wild dogs.
The funds will help purchase and install the remaining 140 units. $2.2 million has already been spent to install 41 units.
Another $16.2 million of county, federal and private funding has been invested over the past four years to develop a sewer line, potable water, roads and community facilities.
"We were never going to give up on the hopes and dreams of Duroville residents. The state's decision should allow the county to finish Mountain View Estates and finally close the chapter on Duroville," Benoit said.
The state had planned to rescind redevelopment funding, saying a lapsed deadline meant funds set aside for the project were returned to state coffers.
The encampment in the Coachella Valley 130 miles southeast of Los Angeles has been the subject of legal and bureaucratic battles for years.
Its nickname comes from Harvey Duro, a member of the Torres Martinez Desert Cahuilla Indians. Duro opened 40 acres of his land to farmworkers in 1997 because of a shortage of affordable housing in the area.
Because the trailer park is on tribal land, it is not subject to local and state health and safety codes.
The residents, who earn less than $20,000 a year for a family of six, pay $275 a month to rent a space for their trailers.
Last month, the mobile home park was damaged by floodwaters that surged into low-lying areas. The flooding knocked out power to 11 homes and forced people to rely on bottled water.