Soon-to-be ex-residents of the Brookside Village Mobile Home Community met with City of Hope Outreach (CoHO) staff, city leaders and others to discuss where they are with vacating the premises.
CoHO Executive Director Phil Fletcher gave the residents an update before opening the floor to them.
“CoHO has been working with other Conway nonprofits to find the best options for you and your family,” Fletcher said. “We have been working with lawyers and legal advisers to determine your rights and legal possibilities.”
Several residents went before the crowd to share concerns, ask questions and pray.
“We just need to know something,” a resident said, garnering a lot of nods and clapping from the crowd.
Fletcher said CoHO is in the process of researching alternative living arrangements for the displaced families.
He told residents they would need to bring their contracts, proof of income, ID, utility bill and any receipts they have to the CoHO office for advice. He also told residents they need to be actively seeking a new place to live.
“Begin looking for a new home, either a lot to move your [mobile home] to a place you would like to rent or buy,” he said, stressing the importance of getting help before signing any documents. “Do not sign a new lease without informing CoHO first. This may cause problems getting you [financial] help.”
He said for those who can afford to move their mobile homes — which costs around $3,000 each — they should do so.
“Move your [mobile home] if you can. If you can’t give at least $1,500 toward moving, we need to discuss finding a new place to rent,” Fletcher said.
Residents were warned to be on the lookout for people trying to take advantage of the situation.
“Please do not fall prey to scammers trying to take advantage of you,” Fletcher said.
In addition to staff from CoHO and the Conway Ministry Center facilitating the meeting, a volunteer translated the meeting in Spanish.
The families have until June 30 to vacate.
Residents of Brookside Village Mobile Home Community were notified on April 15 the mobile home park would close June 30 and they would need to vacate and take all property with them by that time.
Keathley previously told the Log Cabin Democrat that closing was the only option moving forward, citing an increase in water and sewer rates on behalf of Conway Corporation that were becoming too costly. The utility company has not raised sewer rates since 2014 and has not raised water rates since 2017.
The Log Cabin Democrat later learned Keathley had been issued several code violations by the city of Conway and could face up to $11,000 in fines.
On Tuesday, Keathley’s attorney Mark Riable said the majority of the citations should have been issued to the residents instead of Keathley.
“There was a series of citations in March, most of them had to do with either junk around a particular [mobile home] or the home didn’t have underpinning or there was some other issue with the [mobile home],” Riable said. “Most of these are not owned by Mr. Keathley. Somewhere in the vicinity of 70 violations were issued the first time. Roughly 60 of the 70 that were issues with people’s personal [mobile homes].”
Keathley’s hearing is set for July 25.
We’ll work all that out when we to court,” Riable said.
Around 300 people will be displaced by the mobile home park closing. First Security Bank opened an account called the Brookside Family Fund for anyone who wants to contribute financially to the families.
For more information or to volunteer, contact CoHO at 501-205-1614 or visit http://www.coho58.org.