A state senator who represents North County plans to amend a farm-worker housing bill to include money for emergency shelter, a move that could alleviate the sort of upheaval caused recently when an immigrant camp in Carlsbad was uprooted.
Sen. Robert Frazee (R-Carlsbad) will undertake the changes to establish a fund to provide temporary housing to migrant field hands, according to Richard Ledford, a legislative aide to the senator.
The idea for the emergency money surfaced during a meeting Friday of state and local officials concerned with the migrant housing problem. Participants suggested that steps be taken to provide the funds, which would be included in a bill Frazee is sponsoring that calls for $500,000 in seed money to build permanent farm-worker housing.
Canyon encampments across North County are under increasing fire from public health officials and municipal authorities, who see the enclaves as health and fire hazards.
The spotlight was trained recently on a camp in south Carlsbad known as Valle Verde, which was razed a month ago. Many immigrants in the camp, which had existed in relative peace for six years, moved to a canyon in Encinitas, prompting protest from neighbors there.
Most of those migrants dispersed this week when the city announced plans to raid the canyon and charge them with trespassing.
Even if the bill is approved by the Legislature, money for the emergency housing would not be available until next year, Ledford said.
In the meantime, officials with the state Housing and Community Development Department agreed at the meeting to begin working with a local nonprofit agency, the North County Chaplaincy, to try to tap existing emergency funds to provide trailers to house immigrants, Ledford said.