City of Hope Outreach (CoHO) staff met with local nonprofits and created a committee Wednesday morning that will meet Thursday to begin working out the logistics of spending and dispersing funds raised for the Brookside Village Mobile Home Community.
Osmar A. Garcia of Garcia Wealth Management announced the Brookside Family Fund at First Security Bank has collected $15,984 and said it was time to form a committee so funds could be distributed.
Residents at the mobile home park were informed April 15 by owner Bruce Keathley that they would need to vacate the premises by June 30. CoHO and other local nonprofits have been working closely with Brookside residents to help find homes for the nearly 350 individuals who would be displaced by the mobile home park's closure.
"These are not just faceless people. These are people who matter in our city more than we know," CoHO Executive Director Phil Fletcher said during Wednesday's meeting. "These are men, women and children who have been contributing to our city in a whole host of ways — whether you live in a house they’ve built, ate a Friday’s or Chili's, a hotel you have stayed or gone to the school."
Local volunteers have reached out Brookside residents individually almost daily since the news broke that the mobile home park would close to determine what each family's best option is moving forward.
To date, CoHO representatives have accounted for 81% of the families at Brookside, Ambra McPeters, administrative director, said.
The remaining 19% of homes at the mobile park are already empty, she said.
Since they learned they were being forced out of their homes, eight families have moved from the area. McPeters said three more will move soon.
Residents were instructed during a meeting at the park Monday not to sign a new lease without contacting CoHO first, because it could affect their ability to receive financial help.
As many trailers have been assessed to determine if they are fit to move, many homes have been found unfit to transfer to another location, Ministry Center Executive Director Spring Hunter said during the nonprofits' briefing on the status of Brookside residents' ability to move. Those who live in homes that are found unfit will have to move into a rental property of other sorts. Along with this hiccup, many of the residents have also found themselves without furniture.
"I'm running into families that in particular can't take their furniture with them because of mold issues and things like that," Hunter said before the group. "One of the families we paid all the deposits for just need to burn all their stuff and start over as far as furniture goes so they're asking [if we can] also furnish their house. ... I have one young couple that has two kids and they're pregnant with a third. They are walking out with nothing. They need everything. They've got their deposit paid and they're moving into an apartment."
Following the meeting with residents at the mobile home park Monday evening, Fletcher said another will be held Thursday to allow others who missed Monday's meeting to get a chance to speak out about their concerns.
The meeting will be held from 7-8 p.m. Thursday at Brookside Village Mobile Home Community.
In an effort to help raise additional funds, residents will be selling authentic foods later this month, interpreter and volunteer Claudia Fountain said.
"The families themselves will be cooking their authentic foods in order to lessen the burden for themselves," she said. "This is one way to make a little bit more money for themselves. They’re excited about it."
The Brookside Family Fiesta will be from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. May 25 at the Conway Ministry Center, located at 766 Harkrider St.