A new pilot program in Granger — the first of its kind in the nation — will turn seasonal farm worker housing into shelter for homeless families this winter.

The 10 fully-furnished units of seasonal farm worker housing provide 76 beds total, and are in use from April through about Thanksgiving, says Lowel Krueger, Yakima Housing Authority executive director.

But in the winter, the units sit empty.

So Krueger applied for a waiver with both the state Department of Commerce and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rural Development Program to get permission to repurpose the rental units for January through March. Commerce approved it earlier in December, and USDA approval just came in a few days ago, so the project can now move forward.

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