Farm Worker Housing Attracts Other Amenities

The Meadows in Darlington, a first-of-its-kind farm worker housing project, is done with construction and welcoming tenants. The 32-unit development and the Darlington community can also look forward to a Head Start classroom and health clinic to come next door, thanks to dollars secured by the Southwest Wisconsin Community Action Program.

SWCAP partnered with Cinnaire Community Development on this farm worker housing development in Darlington, which makes history by targeting farm workers. The requirement to live at The Meadows is that 40 percent of the household income must be from agriculture, such as working on a farm or cheese plant.

Wally Orzechowski, executive director of SWCAP, says the complex has two- and three-bedroom configurations available. Each has its own entrance, so they’re designed like townhouses. And the dwellings are also designed for families.

Orzechowski says the community has been welcoming, as Darlington relies on incoming farm workers to populate schools and support local businesses. The Meadows has also attracted a new head start classroom and health clinic for the broader community to utilize.

SWCAP secured more than $1.5 million for the city of Darlington to build a Head Start classroom with space for a free health clinic that Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) can use. SWCAP will manage the construction and own the building.

“To be able to provide affordable, workforce housing, high quality child care in a Head Start classroom, free medical care to the farm worker families and WIC nutrition assistance is a great project in meeting several of the social determinants of health needs for agricultural workers and the broader community,” Orzechowski says.