A mobile home park closure on May 1 means that people have been scrambling to find alternative spots for their homes or businesses, other housing arrangements, or are even considering moving out-of-state. This week we share the experiences of several displaced home and business owners of Jackson Mobile Home Park.
Not all Jackson Mobile Home Park home owners live in the park. Jean Barber and her husband Charlie purchased one trailer four or five years ago and another a little over two years ago.
“We had bought the first one to put our youngest daughter in. She needed a place to live. And we thought, well, this is a good place for her to be able to start. Then our oldest daughter needed a place to live. We bought that trailer through Jackson’s trailer court with the understanding that Jackson’s trailer court will always be there.”
She says their younger daughter Michelle is 36 and still a resident, and their elder daughter Leona is in her early 40s and has since moved to Hawaii.
“And they were both struggling and needed a place for themselves to get started. The oldest daughter moved out, so we started renting this one out, just trying to figure out what to do with it.”
Barber says she attended meetings Jackson residents have held to discuss the closure and describes the chaos.
“It’s crazy, it’s just crazy, because there is no answers. Nobody’s talking, nobody knows who to talk to because nobody has answers, but something’s gonna have to give.”
Like other owners, Barber says she and her family aren’t sure what to do with their trailers.
“EPA…we have to go through them to get permission for some type of testing or something, but we don’t know who EPA is to go through. We don’t know who to go through to see if our trailer is even worth moving. We don’t even have a place to move ‘em to. We would’ve liked to be able to donate the one to a nonprofit organization. There’s no nonprofits that could even use it because [they don’t have] a place to move them themselves.”
Barber may not live in Jackson’s, but she says the closure tears at her.
“People say ‘why worry about this, Jean? It’s not your problem. It is. It’s a community problem. These are our neighbors, these are our friends, these are our children’s friends.”
She says low-income families don’t have many options
“You know, people say they can leave the island. Well, they can’t leave the island, because they don’t have a job where they would go, they don’t have housing where they would go. If it was that convenient, it wouldn’t be so bad.”
Barber says she advised families that they need to move, that the closure will happen, and that they need to prepare. She says she has told them they have a better chance of getting an extension if they pay their rent on time and keep their areas clean.
As for her and her family, Barber says her one daughter left in town is staying in the park until they can find a place, and they’re looking into buying a condo as a next step.