by Cathy Murillo
After calling the Deluxe Trailer Park on the lower Eastside home
for the last 21 years, Sylvia Parker, 65, will move out at the end
of the month, along with many other residents. Santa Barbara city
staff and the state’s housing department have identified numerous
health, safety, and building code violations throughout the
complex, including makeshift plumbing and electrical wiring.
Unpermitted additions are by far the most common problem; many
residents — who own the units — have built small add-on rooms and
enclosed porches to create more living space, a trend that all
parties agree is caused by the South Coast’s housing crunch.
Alex Lambrous of Legal Aid Foundation — which received $50,000
from the city to protect the residents’ rights — said owners of the
units in violation were given the option of fixing the violations
or receiving relocation money in exchange for their trailers. Some
people have done neither and have been served with eviction
notices. About half a dozen families have moved out, with some
receiving at least $15,000 for their units. Terry Bartlett — the
attorney for the park’s owners — said her clients don’t want to
evict anyone and that she has not filed the lawsuits that would
begin formal eviction proceedings.
Parker has begun to pack her belongings in the small unit where
she and husband, who died in 2002, lived together for 17 years.
Parker — who will likely move into her son’s Oxnard home — defends
her neighbors who are reluctant to tear down their add-ons. “The
residents are all working people,” she said, “and they’re invested
in the trailer park — financially and emotionally.” Parker also
does not want to leave. “Santa Barbara is my home. This is where I
want to be,” she said.