Residents Anticipate Relocation
Residents of Sunset and Ed's mobile home parks fear being forced out of their homes. The rumor is they will have 120 days to find a new place to live, so residents have taken it upon themselves to write petitions and attend city council meetings in large numbers to request longer relocation time and extra resources to afford a move.
David and Charlotte Nagel started with very little.
"My wife and I first met, we were homeless, we built a life together and the only way we were able to do that was through affordable mobile home living," said David Nagel.
Now, with their foundation threatened, the future is scares the Nagels.
"Yea, I'm dreading it. Just a few days ago, I was crying to my husband because of the fear of what might happen to us," said Charlotte.
The owners of the Sunset and Ed's mobile home parks may choose to sell the land if the city expands. The Nagels worry they and many others could end up homeless.
Last month, Whirlwind Properties, the owners of the mobile homes announced that they would not force anyone to leave. According to a Whirlwind Properties annexation agreement, residents may only have four to six months to do so if the land is sold.
"The last thing Columbia needs is more homeless people on the streets," said David.
"We want to be able to have time and money to find us a suitable home," said Charlotte.
The Nagels and other mobile home park residents packed into a Columbia City Council meeting on Monday with support from the group Grass Roots Organizing.
"Progress is a reality, economic development is a reality. That is not the issue; the issue is that we need to anticipate the needs of families who are going to be relocated," said Miriam Mahan, a GRO speaker.
The council decided to continue a discussion on the mobile home residents' needs in two weeks. More than one hundred people who live in the mobile home parks signed a petition asking for a year to find a new place to live if they have to move.
In hopes to prepare for an eviction, 112 residents of the mobile home parks signed what they call a "people's proposal" petition. In the event of an eviction, the residents request:
- A one-year eviction notification given to all residents
- Park owner will give free lot rent for last 6 months
- Park owner must maintain the property for the entire year after notification
- No new buys and no new move-ins during the year that follows the eviction notification
- $700 - $1,000 given to all renters who own their homes or are buying them
- The proposal must be part of any contract the owner makeswith any buyer of the property if/when the property sells