Modular Housing for Migrant Workers in Michigan

Mlive reports a blueberry farmer wants a special permit to house 17 migrant laborers in an 1,820 square foot modular home in Port Sheldon Township in Ottawa County, Michigan. Opponents say it will hurt property values and increase the risk of crime. Someone anonymously distributed fliers in the area that have a picture of an Hispanic man who had been charged with assault and the text says, “How about 20 young men like this moving into your neighborhood.” The flier further states the workers will probably not be legal residents, and families with children, the elderly, and single women will be in jeopardy. A township official denounced the flier, but over 50 people showed up for a Planning Commission meeting, which rarely draws more than a handful of people. Blueberry farm owner Carl Nelson says without the modular housing unit he may not be able to harvest his crop. Neighbors complain transient people don’t have a vested interest in the township. Gail Harrison of the Lakeshore Ethnic Diversity Alliance says, “If you want to argue the legalities of the special use permit, then argue that. But don’t paint our migrant farm workers as criminals who are going the threaten the safety of our children.” The board will continue the discussion at its Feb 1, 2012 meeting, and consider a suggestion to allow 12 workers to live in the house from July 1 to Sept 15.

(Photo credit: Wikipedia/Wis. migrant housing)

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