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Community spirit 

For Betsy Powers, there's nowhere quite like the Santa Margarita Mobile Home Park.

"It's gorgeous, I don't want to live anywhere else, and I couldn't think about moving anywhere else. It's just heaven here," she said.

click to enlarge COMMUNITY Volunteers from the Santa Margarita Community Church helped Betsy Powers with repairs on her mobile home. - PHOTO COURTESY OF ROBERT CAMPBELL
  • Photo Courtesy Of Robert Campbell
  • COMMUNITY Volunteers from the Santa Margarita Community Church helped Betsy Powers with repairs on her mobile home.

Powers has lived there for the past 20 years, and she said the living conditions in the mobile home park have improved since Maurice Barr, the current manager of the Santa Margarita Mobile Home Park, took over.

"We had meth addicts all over the place; people had to call the police four to five times a week," Powers said. "Now it's peaceful, clean, and quiet."

However, she said there are positives and negatives associated with the new management. Powers started receiving notices with a list of repairs that needed to be done to her mobile home. If she didn't complete the repairs in a timely fashion, she could be in danger of being evicted from the land she was renting for her mobile home to sit on.

The Santa Margarita Community Church found out about her need for assistance and stepped up to lend a hand.

"They're wonderful people; they helped me buy my truck, and they've been doing unbelievable things for me," Powers said. "Because I'm disabled, I can't really serve a lot, but they keep doing wonderful things for me."

The church provides funding for the projects, and volunteers make repairs. The most recent notice that Powers' received required new skirting on the outside of her mobile home—an aesthetic issue that she didn't think needed changing.

"It was just old," Powers said. "It didn't look that bad; I didn't think it was necessary and there were just [parts of the skirting] that needed to be replaced."

Powers' biggest issues with repairs such as the skirting and the other items on the notices were not only the price tag but the consequences associated with the repairs.

Since Powers is on disability and is not employed, she wouldn't be able to take on the cost of maintaining a certain look for her mobile home. Not only that, but she said that if she were evicted from her spot, she wouldn't be able to afford to rent elsewhere since her rent is so low.

"It's low-income here, I don't have a thousand dollars to put new skirting on my mobile home," she said. "I told them these people [in the mobile home park] are on disability and low income, and you can't keep scaring them like that."

Powers expressed her concerns to the new management, explaining that the notices came across as aggressive. Now, instead of threatening eviction, the notices specify exactly when the repairs need to be completed by.

"There are so many things we could do easily if we could stop and look at it and team up. It's encouraging to us right now and we're thrilled to be a part of it," Santa Margarita Community Church Pastor Robert Campbell said.

Volunteers replaced the skirting on Powers' mobile home in addition to applying a fresh coat of paint to the exterior. Their efforts have been focused on repairs that are necessary for compliance issues with the management.

"You can't rebuild a whole unit, but we've done what's needed in each of those places," Campbell said. "Painting has been the main thing, because there's a little bit of hope with repairing and improving the look of the park and improving the lives and experience for everyone in it."

And this isn't the first time Powers has received help from the church. Last winter her heater broke twice, and volunteers from the church helped fix it and pay for the repairs both times. The volunteer program continues to grow through donations to the church, as well as church members giving their time to help the community.

"It's a good day for Santa Margarita, and I'm sure there were some rough patches along the way, but that doesn't define today," Campbell said. "Part of the reason that is, is because of the way we've all worked together to make this happen, and that's worth celebrating."

Fast Fact

Pismo Beach is hosting its 31st annual Classic Car Show, featuring more than 850 classic cars. From June 16 to 18, spectators can enjoy the vehicle showcase, beer garden, live music by The Crisptones, and the car cruise through the streets of Pismo Beach. To find out more information, call (909) 890-0082 or visit theclassicatpismobeach.com.

New Times Intern Kristine Xu wrote this week's Strokes and Plugs. Send tips to strokes@newtimesslo.com.


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