The almost simultaneous closings of two area mobile home parks have left residents searching for a new place to live. However, local help may make the move easier for some.
A fund has been set up to assist with the expenses the residents might face after the shuttering of two mobile home parks in Columbia. The El Ray and Regency Mobile Home Parks are both closing, forcing occupants to find alternate housing.
Attorney Michael Carney is an advocate for these residents. While both parks will be closing this spring, Regency residents will be getting money from the new owners of the site. Those living in El Ray aren’t getting the same kind of assistance. And they have to move much sooner.
“That park will be closing at the end of February," said Carney. " So, you know, from today they’ve got roughly 45 days to move with very little assistance from anybody. The ultimate goal here is to prevent anybody, whether they’re at Regency or at El Ray, from becoming homeless. Which is a very real possibility.”
About six weeks ago, the Voluntary Action Center (VAC) of Columbia began hearing from people who wanted to help the remaining residents. VAC's Executive director Nick Foster says so far they’ve had about $500 donated from a few groups and individuals.
Right now they’re interested in getting the word out that these funds are available to those in need and are hopeful that others will contribute. As far as what the funds will be spent on, he said it will be a case by case basis.
“We will respond to the folks as their needs are described to us," he said. "We anticipate that most of it will be used for the moves that they’re having to make.”
Carney saidthere are a total of about 60 residents remaining in both mobile home parks. Those living in El Ray must vacate by March 1. Those in Regency have until the end of April, except those with school age children who can stay until the end of May.