The neighborhood of La Colonia in Oxnard, California, is comprised mostly of agricultural workers. Parked cars fill the small residential streets, panaderias and local restaurants line the main road. The area has become a place for shared living spaces. Residents are experiencing the rise in the cost of housing firsthand.

 

David Perez who works at a plant nursery says things became difficult for him and his family since the beginning of COVID. Before the pandemic, he lived in a single-family home with his wife and daughter. But with the increase in rent and the ongoing pandemic, the family left their home and are now living in two separate living homes. “It’s been tough,” David says. “But the family needed to save money.” 

 

For now, David is having to readjust to the current times but for others, Oxnard is no longer sustainable. Some agricultural workers are moving to new areas like Bakersfield, a large farm working town about two hours northeast of Oxnard. As residents navigate the changes in their neighborhoods the question of what will become of the once sleepy coastal town is still pending.

 

Born And Riazed - Oxnard was published in June 2022 for KCRW/NPR. 

 

Images, Words, Co-produced by Zaydee Sanchez.