Phoenix City Council approves $300K to help mobile home tenants forced to relocate

Grand Canyon University bought the land around 27th Avenue and Colter Street and plans to build new apartments.
Published: Jan. 10, 2023 at 5:09 PM MST
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PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) - Talk to any resident at the Periwinkle Mobile Home Park in Phoenix, and they’ll tell you they’re scared to end up on the street.

Ray Bernier has lived in the park for 15 years. “They expect me to get an apartment with what, my looks?” said Bernier. “I don’t think I’ll get an apartment with my looks. It’s too expensive.” All of the tenants here have been given notice to pack up and move out by the end of May.

Grand Canyon University has bought the land around 27th Avenue and Colter Street and is planning to put up new apartments. Since most of the mobile homes are too old to physically move, tenants have been scrambling to find an affordable place to live, not an easy feat. The rent at Periwinkle is between $300 and $500 a month while some of the cheapest apartments around town are well over $1,000 a month.

“I’m critically ill,” said resident Joe Suter. “I have to take 13 pills to stay alive. If I become homeless, if I am lucky I’ll only have one month. If I’m unlucky, I’ll live longer than that. I don’t want to live longer on the street.” In an effort to help residents find a new home, the Phoenix City Council just approved $300,000 in funding to provide legal services to the tenants of Periwinkle and two other mobile home parks, Las Casitas Mobile Home Park and Weldon Court.

All these mobile home parks were recently purchased for new development. The city program is designed to help residents relocate, access state assistance, and jump through any legal hoops to avoid being homeless. The various residents Arizona’s Family spoke say they appreciate the help but that they don’t think it’s enough. “Honestly, what I think is, because I’m not dumb, is it’s a joke. A laugh in our faces, that’s what it is,” said tenant Alex Chuca. “It’s not enough.”

A number of non-profit groups are happy to see the city stepping up to help residents of the mobile home parks, but say there are other tenants in other neighborhoods just like them. They say they’re hoping the city will expand the assistance program even more. A spokesperson for Phoenix city councilmember Carlos Garcia said they are exploring ways to help other mobile home tenants in similar situations.