3OYS: Residents say dream homes are no dream

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By Tami Hoey By Tami Hoey

PHOENIX -- They say a picture speaks a thousand words. Looking at an advertising picture of Catalina Village Mobile Home Park, it looks like a nice, clean place with a lot of amenities, but residents like Shirley Valentini say those pictures are misleading.

"When I first came to Phoenix, I was looking at mobile home parks and I never saw anything as beautiful as this," Valentini said.

The sign says it all: "dream homes for sale." Inside the Catalina Village Mobile Home Park, it’s a very different picture.

"This should be locked," Valentini said.
An unlocked door in a vacant, run-down mobile home is just one of many complaints Valentini, a longtime resident, has with the living conditions here.

"We'd like some of these homes pulled out of here. It's a shame if you have out-of-town visitors."

On its website, Catalina Village touts a variety of amenities for current and future residents. Features claimed include a beautiful swimming pool, laundry facilities and a fitness center. Valentini called it false advertising.

Many of those amenities are not available to the residents, and that's disappointing to Valentini.

“Angry, sad. I mean, I work long hours. I’d like to come home and swim."

For starters, residents said the pool has been closed for nearly a year. Residents can't always get to the fitness center, because it's open one day and closed the next. The laundry facilities that are advertised are closed and inoperable, leaving Valentini and other residents saying that there's nothing very "dreamy" about the place.

Management didn't want to talk on camera to 3 On Your Side, but they did tell us that the pool underwent extensive remodeling and that it's supposed to be reopened in about a month. When we were there, our cameras even captured new landscaping going in.

As for the laundry room, management claims they had to close it after vandals put human waste in the washer. However, they're quick to point out that a thorough sanitizing and new steel security door will allow them to re-open it soon.

"The city's been in here for violations too," Valentini said. "They've been in here for a couple of months trying to get them to clean up in here."

The City of Phoenix confirmed that inspectors have been to Catalina Village, but no citations were ever issued.

"In our experience, the property managers and tenants have been responsive and cooperative in correcting violations upon notification from the city," a city official said in an email. 
Residents like Valentini say getting things back together can't happen soon enough.

"I wanted to spend the rest of my life here," Valentini said. "There was a pool and a clubhouse, a laundry room and now that's all been taken from us."

It looks like progress has been made since 3 On Your side got involved, including some of the older, run down mobile homes being moved out. However, after living in the park for 30 years and after talking to 3 On Your Side, Volentini claims she was given an eviction notice for reportedly feeding feral cats. The park has not responded to that issue yet.