Time running out for Wheel Inn Ranch residents

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(Source: KPHO/KTVK) (Source: KPHO/KTVK)

Time is running out for the 80-plus residents of the Wheel Inn Ranch in Scottsdale. They are being forced out of their homes by the end of January.

Mamie Thaden, 82, picked cotton in Arizona when she was 12. She has resided in Scottsdale for more than 70 years and lived at the mobile home park for nearly 20. She says she’s losing sleep right now, thinking about where she’s going to end up.

"I sit there at night thinking, 'Well, I guess I’ll end up on the sidewalk,'" she said.

The widow of two Navy veterans along with all of her neighbors – many of them elderly and disabled -- must be out of the aging park in five months.  

Mesa developer Ryan Hartman bought the land as part of a plan to revitalize Scottsdale’s McDowell corridor. 

It's becoming a growing trend in older neighborhoods all across the Valley.

"It's millionaires looking to disgrace the older disabled people just so they can make a few more millions," Thaden said.

Hartman denied our request for an on-camera interview, but in an email exchange, confirmed that he hopes to ease the financial hardship by offering up to $2,000 for those who are taking their homes with them. The money will be paid directly to the movers.

Arizona’s Relocation Fund also provides up to $5,000 to movers to help cover the hefty transport costs.

Some of the mobile homes are too old to be moved. Many residents said even if their homes could be moved, there's no place in Scottsdale they can afford to put them. 

That means several of the mobile homes will be left behind. Those residents qualify for $1,250 of the state's relocation fund. 

For others in Arizona facing a similar situation, experts recommend applying for affordable housing vouchers or researching other means of support from the city. 

In Scottsdale, there are almost no affordable housing vouchers available. 

Former Scottsdale City Councilman Bob Littlefield still feels a responsibility to the residents of his city, especially some of the most vulnerable.

"I have always opposed all this sort of thing going on in south Scottsdale where people are trying to redevelop these folks out of existence, and I don't like that," Littlefield said.

He started a fundraiser, hoping to ease residents' transitions.

"We can’t prevent it from happening, but hopefully we can collect some money and help these folks out," the former councilman said. 

Thaden spent much of her adult life taking care of the elderly through their last days. She said any assistance right now is welcome. 

"I feel bad asking for help now, but I’m going to have to get help, because I can’t do a lot for myself," she explained. 

Littlefield says tax-deductible contributions can be made through Arizona LEOS, an IRS-approved 501(c)(3) charity that sponsors an Aging Safely program

A volunteer committee of community leaders will oversee the money collected and the disbursement of funds.

You can also donate online through PayPal, writing "Wheel Inn Ranch" in the "Add special instructions to seller" box. 

To contribute by check make it out to Arizona LEOS and mail it to Wheel Inn Ranch Fund, 8414 E. Vista Drive, Scottsdale, AZ 85250. Please write "Wheel Inn Ranch" on the memo line and include your email address so we can save postage costs and email you a receipt.

All of the information and instructions can be found at BobLittlefield.com.

Copyright 2015 3TV (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.

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