Half Moon Bay struggles to find housing for those displaced by mass shooting
HALF MOON BAY – While farmers in Half Moon Bay have been impacted by this year's seemingly endless storms, some farm workers are also still recovering from the trauma of the mass shooting at two farms in January.
Many of the survivors and their families lived at their workplace and have been struggling to find housing during the months since the deadly shooting.
Farm worker Chunli Zhao is charged with seven counts of murder and one of attempted murder for the Jan. 23 shooting spree which targeted coworkers at two Half Moon Bay mushroom farms.
It has been a dizzying past few months for the families of those killed in January's mass shooting in Half Moon Bay. In addition to the grief of losing a loved one, many were not able to return to their homes after the shooting. They have been bouncing around different hotels and Airbnb's ever since.
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Vanessa Rodriguez works for ALAS, the local nonprofit that has been at the forefront of getting aid and assistance to these families.
"It's hard. It's very hard out here on the coast especially with…there's not much low income housing," explained Rodriguez. "There's different types of housing out here. It's just hard overall."
She said none of the workers felt comfortable talking on camera, but told KPIX the biggest challenge they have been facing is finding more long term temporary housing, especially for their children.
"I feel like, [for] the little ones, it's very traumatic. I feel like it's something different," said Rodriguez. "They were used to just living on the farm, having everything there, and just moving on from house to house, it's been a bit complicated for them."
Earlier this month, the city of Half Moon Bay put out this call to the community asking for help in finding more vacant housing.
Vice Mayor Joaquin Jimenez said it helped.
"You know that's how we found places for some of the single farm workers and some of the families," said Jimenez. "[We're] still looking for more."
Rodriguez said finding housing for many of the larger families has proven difficult.
"There's big families. There's a family of three to a family of six, so we've got to accommodate all that," she said. "So yeah it's been hard."
The city has plans to build more affordable housing units in the future, but that project won't be done for years. Jimenez says that for now, the community is doing everything it can to support these families and find them some place to stay, at least through the end of the year.
"That's just the type of community we are," Jimenez said. "We are here to support each other and everybody's trying to help the best way they can or the best way we can."
Rodriguez told KPIX the families feel that support, but still have a long way to go towards feeling settled.
"It's definitely been an emotional impact on them as well as a family. They have each other to rely on and ALAS to advocate for them as well and Coastside Hope and the city. We haven't left them alone," she said. "But of course it's something that they have to do on their own at the end of the day once they get home."
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