With help from housing advocate group KC Tenants, the relocation demands of the more than 100 residents of Heart Village Mobile Home Park are being met by the Jackson County Legislature.
Jackson County bought the 107-acre mobile home park in July to build a new jail and announced plans to have all residents moved out of the park within six months. Their original relocation plan called for the County to give residents $5,000 in relocation costs, which the park residents said was inadequate in comparison to their actual relocation cost and loss in equity.
After hearing residents’ demands, the county approved a new resident relocation plan totaling almost $2 million. The estimated cost of the original relocation plan was about $500,000 less than the newly approved plan.
Residents will now receive at least $10,000 per household in relocation assistance, but residents are working to change that to direct and unrestricted cash assistance. Rent at the mobile home park is also canceled as of Aug. 23. The county will also fully compensate residents for their homes, including purchasing new trailers for those whose homes cannot be moved.
Community Service League, the nonprofit working with the county to help with the residents’ relocation will report back to the legislature in 30 days after the organization meets with each household to hear their individual needs. At that point, the Community Service League can request more money from the county to compensate the residents.
Jackson county bought the mobile park for $7 million, settling on the location because it’s on the bus route and has easy access to highways for transporting inmates to courthouses.
The new jail will cost more than $200 million and is estimated to be complete in 2024. Construction will begin next spring.
While their demands have been met, in a statement, residents said their organizing is not over.
“The county wanted to go in a certain direction, without our voices. We refused to be silenced. We are happy to win several of our demands, but we’re not done fighting. Make no mistake, we won’t retreat until each and every one of us is fully and properly compensated for our homes. We won’t stop organizing until each of these commitments is in writing and delivered to us.”