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Indybay Feature
Day Worker Center May be Forced to Close
by R. Willsdotter (info [at] raginggrannies.com)
Thursday May 17th, 2007 12:55 AM
The Day Worker Center of Mountain View, housed for the past 5 years at the Calvary Church at California Street and Escuela Avenue, is losing its facility on July 31, 2007.

Photo by Charles Slay
dayworkngransbycs.jpg
DAY WORKER CENTER MUST FIND NEW LOCATION BY JULY 31

From Press Release issued by the Mountain View Day Worker Center

SUCCESSFUL ORGANIZATION IN GOOD FINANCIAL CONDITION, BUT LOSS OF FACILITY COULD CRIPPLE SERVICES AND FORCE WORKERS BACK TO THE STREETS.


The Day Worker Center of Mountain View, housed for the past 5 years at the Calvary Church at California Street and Escuela Avenue, is losing its facility on July 31, 2007. The Center has been searching for a new home for over a year unsuccessfully because of high real estate prices in the geographically appropriate area. Unless a new facility can be found now, most of the 90+ workers who use the Center will be joining nearly the same number of workers who already solicit work on the street along El Camino Real.

In addition to connecting employers and day laborers with jobs in a safe and business-like atmosphere, the Center also offers valuable programs which will be lost without a facility in which to host them. For example, over 25 hours of English language instruction are offered each week at the Center.

Female day laborers would be especially hard hit by the loss of the Center because it is not culturally acceptable for women to solicit jobs on the street as male laborers do. These women will lose the only organized way to connect with employers if the Center is lost.

The loss of the center would also eliminate the only community meeting place for workers, employers, and volunteers. The Center has provided a positive space for interaction and the development of mutual respect within the community. Local police use the Center as a focal point for communication with the local immigrant community. The Stanford Legal Clinic provides legal support to vulnerable workers robbed of wages or unable to deal with the legal system.

The Center receives weekly visits from the Gardner Mobile Medical Clinic which provides no-charge health services to about 85 workers each month. In the absence of this service, local emergency rooms can expect to experience an increased load.

“The Center provides unique, effective and humane services which benefit our entire community,” says Assembly Speaker pro Tempore Sally Lieber. “And it’s an organization I’m proud to have supported in the past and will continue to support enthusiastically in the future.”

The Center is seeking the support of the community as well as local and county government to help locate and fund a new center in the appropriate geographic area for its constituency. The Center is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization and is primarily funded by grants from groups such as the Silicon Valley Community Foundation, Philanthropic Ventures Foundation, Sisters of Charity, the Catholic Campaign for Human Development, and the Mountain View Voice. Other funding sources include private donations and an annual fundraising event. Current grant funding, while substantial, will diminish in two more years.

The Center has made tremendous funding strides over the last 18 months, and on May 8th, the City of Mountain View awarded the Center a $10,000 Community Development Block Grant to support an outreach program to workers on the street (the program is a partnership with the Mountain View Police Department). The center is extremely thankful for this grant and will continue to work with the surrounding cities to secure additional municipal funding. While most day laborer centers in the Bay Area are funded primarily through city of county funds, the Day Worker Center of Mountain View has been able to survive up until now without such support. While this has been a source of great pride for the Center, the reality is that municipal funding from Mountain View, Los Altos, Palo Alto and Sunnyvale is essential to the Center’s long-term survival.

A press conference about the Center’s situation will be held at the Center on Friday, May 18, 2007 at 9:30 A.M. The Center is located at 1880 California Street in Mountain View. Assemblywoman Sally Lieber and Santa Clara County Supervisor Liz Kniss will attend this event in support of the Center. State Senator Joe Simitian and Pastor Jim Stringer (the Center’s current generous supporter) are tentatively expected as well. A document containing additional background information and statistics about the Center and related issues will also be provided at that event.
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