Martin Contreras, a longtime resident of Little Woods Mobile Villa and a member of Little Woods Neighbors United, speaks at a news conference at the mobile home park in Petaluma on August 29, 2023. (Courtesy of Lina Blanco-Ogden/North Bay Organizing Project)

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You can also send a check payable to Petaluma People Services Center: Little Woods,  1500 Petaluma Blvd S, Petaluma, CA 94952

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You may have driven past Little Woods Mobile Villa’s for years and never even noticed it. This mobile home park borders Lakeville Highway and has over 79 units. In September, the owners of the park issued space rent increases ranging from 270% to 343%. We all know that the cost of living in Petaluma and Sonoma County is high, but this increase is way more than the residents of the park can afford.

The diverse array of residents here includes multigenerational families and seniors, and many of them are on fixed incomes or are working multiple jobs just to keep their home. The increase notices do provide for an arbitration hearing, which will allow an impartial third party to make a legally-binding decision on whether the rent increase is fair and justified.

Petaluma People Services Center is asking you to help us to raise the money needed to hire the legal team to represent the tenants at the park. This is more than just raising money for a legal battle; this is about protecting some of the most valuable (and vulnerable) residents in our community. This is about housing security. We have to protect these residents, so they don’t fall into homelessness, are become forced to leave one of the last affordable places in our community.

It is the time of year when we all have opportunities each and every day to reach out to those less fortunate. I recently heard someone say “take care of yourself, and if you can, take care of someone else too,” and that is what I’m asking you for today. PPSC needs to raise at least $75,000 to help the residents in Little Woods and Youngstown, and I’m asking today if you can give a little, it will help a lot.

The calls keep coming, the need keeps growing, there will be more heartache too, but I know Petaluma can continue to rise to the challenge and support our neighbors.

It is all about Community,

Elece Hempel, Executive Director

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