Boxes are piled up on the porches of many Jamison Mobile Home Park residences. This neighborhood in Greensboro used to be a vibrant community, but now there are only a handful of children playing soccer, very few cars are parked, and the places where many homes stood now are vacant lots.
Miguel Medina had only been living in the lot for one year. He moved here with his newborn daughter with plans to invest all of his savings into buying and renovating a mobile home for stability. Today, his daughter is one year old and must find another place to live.
"The owner of the trailer park, we haven't received any answers from her about supporting us financially. We also haven't heard anything from the people who want to buy the lot. Right now, only the city will be assisting us," says Medina. "Some of the neighbors have already moved and my family and I are only waiting for the money from the city to do the same."
Last July, the residents of Jamison Mobile Home Park received an eviction notice to leave their homes by September. Legally, though, all mobile home property owners must give a notice of at least 180 days regardless of the term of the tenancy. Siembra NC, a North Carolina grassroots organization that advocates for the wellbeing of Latino communities, got involved and the owner of the lot gave the tenants a little more time. Greensboro Mayor Vaughan later negotiated with Family Properties, the owner, to extend the eviction date to this month.
"The lawyers told us that since the owner sees that we're moving, they didn't give us an exact date this month to move because they see that we're all leaving," says Medina.
Residents say they never received a direct response from the buyer Owls Roost or Family Properties. Neither responded to inquiries from WFDD. In an effort to stay in their homes, the neighbors banded together in an effort to buy the property themselves. Siembra NC hired a lawyer to speak to both parties, and they were told that purchasing the property was not an option.
Nikki Marín Baena with Siembra NC says they're tried everything to help the residents. But it has been a slow process because every resident has to look for a place to move individually.
"So there are conversations happening that include a lawyer for the developer, a lawyer for the seller, a lawyer for the residents, people from the Greensboro Housing Coalition, and people from the neighborhood development department. In these phone calls, like everyone's top priority is getting the residents the help they need in a timely fashion and also avoiding eviction proceedings," she says.
The City of Greensboro will cover the cost of moving, but Meily Molina, a resident that has lived in the park for 15 years, says that's not enough.
"For example, I have to find a place to live while they're moving the trailer and installing the trailer, and that could take 3 to 6 months," says Molina, and adds she's currently waiting to make a reservation with the movers.
Despite the city of Greensboro's promise to fund $10,000 in moving expenses, she and others say they don't have a clear idea of when they will get an appointment with the movers or when the money will be reimbursed.
City officials would not confirm the refund process or timeline to WFDD. The city is working with the Greensboro Housing Coalition to distribute the funds and movers need to be secured through that organization. But Molina says there's no time left and is already in the process of leaving and looking for housing while her trailer gets moved. She says leaving her home after all these years has taken a toll on her health.
"I've been feeling bad," says Molina. "Yesterday I had a nervous breakdown and chills, and it has been happening for a while now. Tomorrow I'll rest, but … we can't escape it anymore."
This story was produced by a partnership between WFDD and La Noticia. You can read this story in Spanish at La Noticia.
Eileen Rodriguez is a reporter for both WFDD and La Noticia through Report for America, where she covers COVID-19's impact in the Latino Communities.
Periodista de La Noticia y 88.5 WFDD, Eileen Rodríguez reporta el impacto de COVID-19 en la comunidad Latina en Carolina del Norte. Rodríguez es miembro del cuerpo de periodistas de Report for America 2021-2022