Nearly 50 families facing eviction from their mobile homes in Northern Virginia are pushing officials to give them more time to relocate.
Residents of East End Mobile Home Park in Manassas, Virginia, were stunned to hear in August that they would need to vacate their homes within six months.
The owner told the city they could not afford to repair problems with the water and sewer system for the park. The city of Manassas will buy the property, disconnect the system and clean up the site. Families were told they needed to leave by the end of February.
As that deadline approaches, residents will ask for an extension at a city hall meeting Monday night, wearing T-shirts that read, "Save our homes! Save East End Mobile Home Park!"
Community Rallies to Support Trailer Park Residents Who Face Eviction
The group wants to postpone the eviction date until August. Resident Melissa Watson said that would help minimize the impact on children who will have to change schools.
"We're going to be moving them when they're prepping for these tests, and that's going to be detrimental to their education," she said.
Community activity Nancy Lyall said an extension until August would allow the community to try to find alternative buyers for the property.
"They put their life investments into these homes, and to just have that taken away from them we think is ridiculous and inhumane," she said.
Moving the mobile homes that residents own would be financially impossible for many people; Watson said it would cost $15,000 to move her double-wide unit. Finding somewhere to put it also would be rough, she said.
Neighbor Helen Sorto is helping even though she lives across the street from the trailer park, not in it. She said that when she heard about the eviction notices, she knew she had to help.
"I told the residents that I would be fighting for you every step of the way. This is my country and I don't like the way they're treating many of these residents," she said.
Watson said she was hopeful her family may be able to stay within the mobile home park.
"I'm determined to help my family and help my entire community. I don't want to see anybody be homeless," she said.
City officials declined to be interviewed on camera. A representative said the eviction date is not their decision because they do not yet own the property.