Via del Mar is a key element of an overall downtown revitalization effort in Watsonville. While the local economy is dominated by agriculture, Watsonville’s location in Santa Cruz County and proximity to affluent communities has pushed rents up to levels that are unaffordable to many who work in the fields or service industry. The City of Watsonville leased the Via del Mar site from the Santa Cruz Metropolitan Transit District and then sought MidPen to develop the affordable housing community with designated apartments for farmworker families. Via del Mar includes a child care center for residents and their neighbors, operated by the Head Start Program. It is also within walking distance to downtown and public transportation, shopping, social services, library, schools and other educational facilities and cultural venues.