Mobile home park residents facing eviction deadline due to GCU expansion

All residents at Periwinkle Homes have just four days to find a new place to live as Grand Canyon University looks to expand.
Published: May. 24, 2023 at 10:03 PM MST
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PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -- As Grand Canyon University looks to expand, people living in the nearby Periwinkle mobile home community have to clear out by May 28. Some have lived at this mobile home park for a decade or more.

“We’re pretty much all family,” Gracia Beltran said. Beltran has lived at Periwinkle for nine years. It’s where her son Jorge grew up and where some of her best friends are. Now, those like Beltran who remain at Periwinkle are unsure about what’s next. “Frustrated, worried, because we haven’t found a place to live,” she said. “I haven’t found a place to live.”

GCU purchased the Periwinkle land seven years ago. Then, last April, they told people in Periwinkle they were expanding their campus, and those living there would have to move.

Gov. Katie Hobbs passed legislation in March to increase the amount of state assistance to between $5,000 and $8,000 to financially help those who must abandon their mobile home. That applies to Beltran and almost everyone she knows on the property whose homes were built before 1976. “A house is 1500 to two thousand dollars a month,” Beltran said. “Here, we pay about 500 dollars a month.”

A Department of Housing representative confirmed to Arizona’s Family that as of yesterday, six families at Periwinkle applied for mobile home funding since the beginning of 2022, and all six have been approved to receive assistance. Beltran says the city of Phoenix will help her with the first three months of rent in her new place. After that, she says she’s on her own. “I’m looking to see if I can find a place to move,” she said.

In a statement to Arizona’s Family, a GCU spokesperson says, “We continue to actively work with each remaining family to create solutions that address their particular circumstances.”

David Cook, who has lived at Periwinkle since 2006, disagrees. “How are they going to move? They don’t have the money,” he said. “I know I don’t. I’ve got one dollar in my pocket.” Both Cook and Beltran say despite the Sunday deadline, come Monday, they don’t plan on going anywhere and will continue to be at Periwinkle. In the meantime, they’re holding on to positive memories of the years spent there.

Arizona’s Family contacted the GCU spokesperson about if they plan on providing some sort of grace period after that May 28 deadline. He said they could not confirm that and that their current focus is on finding solutions between now and the deadline. He also said those who have worked with GCU are now in a better situation but added some people have still not reached out to them for help.