CREATED May. 30, 2013
MECCA - A Mecca couple is living in squalid conditions in their mobile home park, among the worst in the Coachella Valley. Aleda Vasquez and her husband live at St. Anthony Trailer Park off Highway 111. For seven years, Vasquez says they have endured the horrible living conditions, but it's gotten worse.
"The trailer sank because of some heavy rain, and since then we've had some power outages," she says in Spanish. "A company came and told us that the wiring wasn't good anymore and that we shouldn't be living here because it can catch on fire."
The air conditioner hasn't worked in six months since the flooding, even though her husband pays the electrical bills on time. She showed them to us, and the total comes to $200. Vasquez doesn't understand what she's paying for if the power goes out daily, and there's no AC.
The owner of the property, Sergio Carranza from Pueblo Unido Community Development Corporation, is aware of the Vasquez' situation, but ultimately, he says, it's the resident's responsibility to fix any trailer problems.
"The mobile homes are the ownership of the tenants in this particular case. The mobile homes do not belong to Pueblo Unido, so in that case, we always try to find a relocation to another mobile home when it's available," says Carranza.
According to Vasquez, the property's manager promised them another mobile home in better conditions, but the relocation never happened. Carranza explains that they couldn't find another trailer that would meet safety and health requirements.
"All of these mobile homes are basically from the 1960s to the 1980s," adds Carranza, "They're very old."
St. Anthony Trailer Park has more than 100 mobile homes, and the main challenge for most of these is a better infrastructure. Some of the trailers have leaks on the roofs, insulation problems, worn-out furniture.
So what's being done to fix these decrepit trailers?
"In the worst case scenarios, we are working with the relocation process and help of the Riverside County Economic Development Agency. If a particular family wants to remain in the mobile home that's in severe conditions, then we work so that the conditions are feasible for them to remain living in those mobile homes," says Carranza.
As for Vasquez, she wants to see some kind of change soon.
"They should tell us if they're going to give us another trailer or if not, we need to find someone to fix our electricity," says Vasquez in a resigned tone, "If not, we'll just have to endure it some more."
Carranza says he will work to find a solution to the Vasquez' living conditions, but before any work can start, proper permits must be filed.
To find out more information on the trailer park's new management, Pueblo Unido, visit their link at: http://www.pucdc.org/