A Santa Rosa family is fighting to stay in their mobile home - and their struggle is shining a light on the precarious world of mobile home parks - a place where the line between affordability and exploitation can easily blur.
Mobile home parks have been getting a closer look recently from Sonoma County officials concerned about runaway rent increases.
For husband and wife Eduardo Escamilla and Luisa Cordero, the price of rent has become the least of their worries.
"The owner of the place is starting to, to see our homes, like very closely to find things that we did wrong," Cordero said. "That way he can have some, uh power, and two month ago he send us an eviction letter."
The couple, who own their mobile home but rent the ground beneath it, is headed for a battle in court as they hope to fight off the 60-day eviction notice from Echelon Communities, LLC, owners of Sunset Mobile Home park in Santa Rosa.
At issue: Echelon says the couple made repairs to their home without proper approval, and failed to respond to any communication from Echelon until receiving the formal notice of eviction.
Cordero maintains the repairs were within necessary parameters, but said her husband’s failing health kept them from scheduling a timely inspection for final approval of the work, and from promptly communicating with Echelon.
"His kidneys fail and then, his heart is not well, even," Cordero said. "So we passed the whole year, last year, like all trying with doctors and with dialysis and all this."
The couple has also filed suit against Echelon, claiming housing discrimination due to Escamilla’s health issues.
Their fight has attracted the attention of activists, dozens of community members, and media from around the Bay Area, who gathered at a rally for the couple on Tuesday near the mobile home park.
Cordero said they simply want to stay in their home.
"We don't like to be in a lawsuit," Cordero said. "We don't like this. And, so we just want them to let us live in our home in peace. That's all what we want."
In March Cordero and Escamilla, along with ten other Sunset Park residents were awarded thousands of dollars in a settlement for illegal rent increases charged by Echelon - who paid out over $47,000 dollars in total.
Echelon declined to comment on the dispute with Cordero and Escamilla, citing the impending litigation.