In a follow up to a story that the Daily Business News originally covered in October, hundreds of residents are now facing imminent eviction from the East End Mobile Home Park in Manassas, Virginia.
And, once again, they are asking the city council to help. But they feel that they are running out of time. The deadline is February 28th.
Residents say their painful saga has been going on for nearly a decade, as the property owner has neglected the community’s sewage system to the point that unless residents take action themselves, sewage comes up into their yards.
According to WJLA, in a move that city officials say they consider the “best of bad options,” the city council voted to buy the property for $1.86 million.
While the option looks good on the surface, it has a twist: the city says it cannot act as a landlord, and therefore the deal can’t close until all the residents are out.
Now residents fear that they will have nowhere to go or won’t be able to afford to move to more expensive housing in the area.
“Believe me, for some other people it may not be much, but for me – and a lot of my neighbors – it’s the whole world,” resident Crescencio Torres told the Manassas city council during the meeting.
City officials say that the current situation is unhealthy for residents and it cannot continue. They say they didn’t want to shut off water and sewer service, which would have led everyone to be evicted right away. Instead, the city opted to buy the property and make repairs, as the current owner does not have enough money to cover the expense.
During the meeting, residents asked the city and the council to pressure the owner to at least extend the deadline for them to be evicted.
While the mayor supports the idea, he says what the city can do is limited.
“We have a contract and we’ve got to abide by that contract,” said Mayor Harry Parrish II. “There are opportunities for the owner to work with the citizens. And I think that’s where the action should be taken place today.”
A group of residents wants to postpone the eviction date until August, including Melissa Watson who says that would help minimize the impact on children who must then change schools.
“We’re going to be moving them when they’re prepping for these tests, and that’s going to be detrimental to their education,” said Watson.
Residents currently pay $600 or less a month at the community and some say they are finding it difficult to locate other places where they can move their manufactured homes. A representative for the city said the eviction date is not their decision because they do not yet own the property.
“It is our hope that the city works with the tenants to find an equitable solution,“ said Randy Grumbine, Executive Director Virginia Manufactured and Modular Housing Association, told MHProNews. ##
(Image credits are as shown above.)
Submitted by RC Williams to the Daily Business News for MHProNews.