Life in a Migrant Labor Camp in Central Florida
According to the state health department, about 200,000 migrant or seasonal workers help harvest crops in Florida annually. The federal government estimates they earn about $7,000 a year for a single worker or $10,000 for a family. That makes finding affordable housing difficult, and many are classified as homeless under federal law.
To overcome this problem and attract needed workers, some employers build migrant labor camps. The state regulates more than 700 of them, housing about 34,000 people.
Migrant laborers come to Polk County from October to May to harvest citrus, so county health inspectors are visiting camps now. 90.7’s Amy Kiley tagged along recently with inspectors Delmys Cerrato and John Cook. They toured the cramped, summer-camp-like units where workers will live for most of this year.
Play the audio above to hear their conversation. To take an audio slideshow tour of the labor camp residence they visited, look for the video on this page.