“They still don’t know what to do:” Families face eviction from Orangeburg mobile home park
COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) – Residents of Crepe Myrtle Village mobile home park in Orangeburg received eviction notices in July when new owners took over the park.
The new owners, Colonial Holdings Group, say they need the park cleared to correct several code violations, some of which include foundation and plumbing issues. Fixing these specific code violations means contractors need access under every trailer.
An attorney for Colonial Holdings said some homes have been abandoned, but many people who stay in the park have fixed incomes and fear they won’t be able to save enough money to get them back and move them.
“People were struggling before the pandemic. It’s like now you want someone to get up and quit their livelihood. No, it will not happen overnight, ”said ACLU lawyer Anwar H. Young.
Colonial Holdings began sending eviction notices to every home in July, but thanks to a series of eviction extensions, they now have until November 1 to leave.
Still, Kelvin Gadson, a longtime resident, says it’s not enough time.
“You have a young woman who has been here for 13 years; that’s all she knows, ”Gadson said. “Another man came here, you know, his trailer is paid for. You know, it’s not like they have a lot of money. They wouldn’t stay in the trailer park if they had a lot of money.
Colonial Holdings has given tenants options that include selling the house to the group for a price determined by Colonial based on the condition of the house, abandoning the house, or moving the house to another park.
Gadson says many residents have invested in their mobile homes by renovating them and either don’t have the money they need to move their trailer or are losing the money they invested by abandoning it.
Colonial Holdings’ attorney said in a statement that they had offered financial assistance to tenants.
“My clients have made various offers to current tenants; this included financial assistance if tenants wanted to move to one of Orangeburg’s other parks owned by the same company. A reminder of the ongoing evictions as well as the offer of financial assistance were extended for the last time in August.
Gadson says what they are offering is not enough.
“You are struggling with these families and they still don’t know what to do,” Gadson said.
ACLU, city council and mayor meet to find a way for the remaining families to relocate.
In a statement, Orangeburg Mayor Michael C. Butler said:
“I am aware of the situation with Crepe Myrtle Village. The city administrator and I talk to the new owner and the residents and try to negotiate a plan. As details are finalized, we will share with residents and the public. We certainly want to come to an agreement that will be in the best interests of everyone involved. “
The Colonial Holdings attorney says there is no animosity towards the current residents and that they are urged to return to the park once the code violations are corrected, but it is unclear when that will be the case.
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