Thick summer fog enshrouds Santa Elena, a tidy trailer park wedged between Highway 101 and the Southern Pacific railroad tracks in Soledad, California, in the southern Salinas Valley. For several decades, Santa Elena’s pristine. Pastel-colored mobile homes, a clean brick community rooms, and swimming pool have been home to hundreds of Latino farm workers who run the most successful farm worker housing cooperative in California. The healthy, stable lifestyle of residents of Santa Elena stands in marked contrast to the living and housing conditions endured by thousands of other farm workers in California. Santa Elena is quiet ands safe. Residents tend gardens, grow flowers, paint trailers, walk their children to the playground, and display confidence and pride in their community. So much privately-owned farm worker housing consists of squalid labor camps where serious health and safety violations are often the norm. When officials attempt to enforce housing codes, growers frequently shut down their housing, forcing farm workers into garage barracks, small trailers in backyards, and in some cases, holes in the ground. For fear of being evicted, many farmworkers are reluctant to report the horrendous conditions in which they live. Seventy-five percent of farm worker housing in California has disappeared in the last two decades. Santa Elena has not always been a great place to live. It was originally known as The Pinnacles Mobile Home Park for retirees, and boasted of reasonable rates, play grounds, and a “Delux 5-Star Quality.” However, the park failed to attract sufficient retirees to fill the spaces. Beginning in 1974, farm workers attracted by the hope of better housing began to move in; they soon discovered health and safety issues similar to those in neighboring labor camps. “The rents kept going up,” explained Santos Zavala, a retired irrigator who moved into the park in 1974. “There was garbage all over the place. Dogs roaming through it. I spent every day picking up trash. At night you had to carry a club. There was no lighting. We did not have storm drains, and lakes of water formed. You had to row a boat to get around.” Most families earned less than $9,000 annually, wages that barely paid for food and housing. They did not want to stay, but they could not afford to leave. In 1978, with help from California Rural Legal Assistance (CRLA), the tenants filed a $1.5 million class action suit against the park’s owners. Then, with help from community organizer Hector de la Rosa, they formed a cooperative, obtained funding from the National Consumer Cooperative Bank (NCCB, the state of California, and the city of Soledad, and in July b1981, purchased the park, now renamed Santa Elena in honor of Ellen Reed, the RCAC housing specialist why pried funds out of NCCB, despite President Ronald Reagan’s freeze on the disbursement of such funds. Today, most of the early obstacle have been overcome and the cooperative enjoys a stability that people living in many privately or publicly-run housing projects might envy.