Tenant rights activists show support for Imperial Beach family facing eviction
Demonstrators gathered in Imperial Beach to stand in solidarity with mother of two Patricia Mendoza, who faces the prospect of losing her home.
Mendoza has lived in the house on Holly Avenue since 2017 and says she always pays her rent on time. She recently received a 60-day notice to vacate so the property can be remodeled.
But the single mom believes it’s because she pays less than her new neighbors, who live in adjacent properties that are owned by the same landlord.
“Living out of my van. That's by biggest concern, because rents are too damn high,” Mendoza said. “I won't be able to afford what I’m able to afford here because I’ve lived here for so long."
Tenant rights activists are calling for the passage of Senate Bill 567, better known as the Homeless Prevention Act. They say it would close loopholes and protect people like Mendoza from being evicted under similar circumstances.
Jose Lopez is the Director of San Diego's Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment, and he led the rally which was held outside the home of Mendoza’s landlord.
“Most people like Patricia are already struggling to make ends meet,” Lopez said. “Let alone (having to) pay twice as much, go through the whole moving process, the deposit, the first month, the last month, all the application fees and taking time off work. And sometimes being evicted can lead to homelessness or worse.”
But individual investors, landlords that own few units, have challenges of their own, according to Lucinda Lilley from the Southern California Rental Housing Association.
“These are not people with huge bank accounts. They own one, maybe two, maybe three rental housing units and they're doing the best that they can to survive what has been a really difficult period of time,” Lilley said.
For Mendoza, the future looks uncertain and she’s worried about the impact this is having on her son and daughter.
“It breaks my heart that this really gives them a lot of instability and that's not what I want. I just want a home where we can live in peace,” she said.
KPBS reached out to Mendoza’s landlord for comment, but they did not responded.