A Coachella Valley trailer park adopted by UC Irvine law students because of its distressed state is slated to get a new sewage system, thanks to a state grant.
Shady Lane Mobile Home Park in Thermal will receive $250,000 from the California Department of Water Resources to overhaul a sewer system that residents describe as inadequate and prone to overflowing. The money comes from Proposition 84, a bond program passed in 2006 to help upgrade local water supplies.
Students from UC Irvine Law School's Community & Economic Development Clinic helped secure the grant. They've been involved in the park since taking on the residents as legal clients in 2011 when the owners attempted to shut it down.
KPCC profiled the mobile home park last year.
Under a 2015 settlement with Shady Lane's owners, UC Irvine is currently seeking a permit and funding to operate the mobile home park itself.
Residents had complained of dangerous and faulty electrical wiring in a region that experiences high temperatures, as well as oddly colored drinking water and a sewer system prone to overflowing and flooding the park with waste. Yet they stayed.
“The problem in Coachella is there really is no other place to live," UCI Law Professor Bob Solomon told KPCC. “Really, the housing shortage is abysmal. It’s worst than anything I’ve seen.”
Solomon and his students believe Shady Lane is just one of many mobile home parks in the Coachella Valley where the infrastructure needs serious upgrades. But they say this form of housing is a promising one for a region that lacks enough units for its residents.