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Mobile home residents being forced off land

<i>KPHO</i><br/>Residents at Weldon Court in Phoenix are panicking after being told they need to leave in a letter from property managers.
Residents at Weldon Court in Phoenix are panicking after being told they need to leave in a letter from property managers.

By Cristiana Ramos

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    PHOENIX (KPHO) — Families have been living in Weldon Court in Phoenix for generations, and some homes even date back to the 1950′s. Now, families and their homes are at risk.

Residents at Weldon Court near 16th Street and Osborn Road are panicking after being told in a letter from property managers they would need to leave. “We have 180 days to vacate,” Lauren Gillespie said. Homeowners like Gillespie, whose family has lived at the park for over 30 years, were told the land would no longer be a mobile home park.

Her grandmother retired, and the mobile home is the only place she can afford. Gillespie said many elderly folks live on the land. “People who are sick, their treatments are expensive, and they can’t afford anything else,” she said.

She also said some trailers are in the ground at the site, and those people won’t be able to move their homes. “These people are going to end up homeless and lose everything and it’s not fair,” Gillespie said. She was homeless when she was 15 years old and moved to Weldon Court. She says she doesn’t want that for the kids who live in the community now.

Gillespie said many residents in the mobile home park didn’t know what was happening because 90 percent of the trailer park are Spanish speakers. She added the letters sent out to residents were in English. “They know they can take advantage of this community,” said Frankee Vega, a resident who has lived at the park for eight years.

On Tuesday, a meeting was held to answer questions residents have. The Arizona Department of Housing and other nonprofits let people know their options, including abandoning or signing over their mobile homes for less than $2,000.

Vega says it’s not enough. “They have not said anything about us not paying rent to save up during that time,” Vega said.

On Wednesday, some residents took the issue to the City of Phoenix, asking for a solution. Salvador Herrera and others proposed a moratorium on mobile home parks. It’s still unknown who the developers are and what they plan to do with the land.

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