Charli, a long time leader with SDOP and congregant at St. John Church in Oceanside, was evacuated from her apartment home at no fault. Earlier this year, she received a notice to evacuate, which means that her lease would not be renewed because the landlord had decided to renovate the apartment unit she was living in for the past five years. This was very stressful for Charli, a retired Marine on a fixed income and tight budget. “I didn’t ask for the renovations,” Chali stated. “Why should I pay for them?”

Charli agreed to move into a newly renovated unit in the same complex after they agreed to waive the background and credit checks, which sounded like it would be cheaper than finding a new apartment complex to move into. However, without her knowledge, they had raised her rent over $600 per month and added in additional charges such as gas and trash fees. Although she was initially happy to move into the new unit, she was blindsided by the additional costs that wouldincur.

To this day, Charli is still financially recovering from the offset of rent charges and moving fees, even though some of the rental application fees were omitted. “That’s a lot of money for people who get evicted on no income or fixed income. It becomes very stressful,” said Charli. “ use legal loopholes to get out of being fair. I didn’tthink it was fair that I had to move out of an apartment that I had lived in for five years, paying the rent on time and no late payments, to move into another apartment so they can raise therent.”

SB 567, The Homeless Prevention Act, would have protected Charli and other tenants who fallvictim to the landlord loopholes that are unfair and inequitable.

In reflection, Charli shares: “A lot of people are not as fortunate as I am. It’s just me but if I had kidsor someone else to support other than myself, I would have to find someplace else to live. Another state perhaps that has lower prices, where rent isn’t as high as it is in California. But being a senior citizen, retired, I don’t want to have to go to a different state and start all over again. I just can’t afford to do that. I can hardly afford to stay here but I definitely cannot afford to leave.”

My Path to Power

Since the start of the pandemic and the increase of engagement on digital platforms, we reimagined grassroots organizing and explored innovative ways to preserve the essence of our work, which is deep relationship building, on online platforms. We started a new series called My Path to Power, which shares the stories of how different members of the SDOP family discovered their path to power through community organizing and advocacy. You can listen to the powerful stories of our inspirational change makers below or at

Teresa Perez, Community Organizer with the San Diego Organizing Project, shares her journey from leader to organizer. Throughout her experience with SDOP, Teresa discovered her power and uses her light to guide her community members in discovering their power as well.