|The office building at 7700 Hummer Road.|
A Mason District task force that has been looking for a place to establish a hiring center for day laborers for the past 14 years might have found one: A local businessman, Christian Kim, has offered to partner with the task force to provide space in an office building at 7700 Hummer Road.
At this stage, it’s just a topic for discussion, said Mason Supervisor Penny Gross. Lot of issues need to be addressed, such as zoning requirements, budget, occupancy, and what kind of non-profit would operate it. “Right now it’s just conceptual,”she said.
Nevertheless, a member of the Hummer Road Task Force, which was formed by Gross in 2000 to search for a safe place for day laborers to connect with employers, is optimistic about the prospect of locating the center at 7700 Hummer Road. That building is across the street from a 7-Eleven where many day laborers hang around waiting for people to offer them jobs. It’s also close to the Little River Shopping Center, where these workers also congregate.
Among the members of the task force are representatives of the Legal Aid Justice Center, Fairfax County Police Department, office of Braddock Supervisor John Cooke, Annandale Christian Community for Action, the Wedgewood Apartments, and the Fairfax County Department of Neighborhood and Community Services.
The task member calls the Hummer Road location “a dream come true,” saying the property won’t need to be rezoned, which would eliminate a huge barrier. The facility won’t receive government money, so other funding sources would need to be identified, such as foundations, nonprofits, corporations, or employers.
The center would be modeled on the Centreville Labor Resource Center, which opened in December 2011, and is entirely supported by grants and donations. That center has a databank of workers listing their skills and matches them employers who need people with those skills. Employers sign a contract stating they will treat workers fairly.
That’s crucial, the task force member says, because employers often take advantage of day laborers, by paying them less than what they promised, or not paying them at all, failing to provide access to drinking water, and otherwise mistreating them.