Clara Diaz, a Salinas mother of three, is one of the many who struggle to find housing on the Central Coast. "It was really hard to find a place to rent. Even a room is really hard to find," said Diaz.
Thursday, the family played at their favorite neighborhood parl. Diaz said their situation was a lot different two years ago. "I was renting a room. It was really hard. You don't have your own space to cook or wash your clothes," said Diaz.
Diaz said she paid more than what she got out of the small, single bedroom. With fear of being evicted, Diaz chose not to speak up about the conditions. "There are a lot of people that can only afford to pay rent and there is no extra money for a lawyer," said Diaz.
Savino Lopez, director of the Center for Community Advocacy (CCA) in Salinas, guides families through the renting process. Wednesday, Governor Gavin Newsom, proposed a plan to give $331 million dollars to non-profits like CCA. Newsom hopes the funding could help residents avoid foreclosure and evictions. "I think it will give us a chance to maybe apply for those funds and strengthen our organization. There are bad housing conditions, but at the same time people are really afraid to challenge their landlord for fear of being evicted," said Lopez.
Lopez said under Newsom's plan the center may have the opportunity to hire a bilingual lawyer and serve more Salinas families. "That money would be very helpful for every non-profit organization that works in this area," said Lopez.
Newsom's plan is to be reviewed by the Legislature.