The water and electricity at Brookside Village Mobile Home Park was turned off as promised on Monday, the final cut-off date given to residents after receiving an eviction notice more than 70 days ago.
Nonprofits like City of Hope Outreach, Conway Ministry Center, Bethlehem House and other individuals have spent the last several months since more than 100 households received vacate notices on April 15 from owner and landlord Bruce Keathley of Diamond Investment Co., working with residents to move trailers and rent apartments, uprooting their families by June 30.
CoHO Executive Director Phil Fletcher fought for an extension for families two weeks ago, Keathley agreeing to a July 15 date.
He said they were able to help those who were remaining on July 15 find hotels to stay in and other arrangements, but still, several trailers were waiting to be relocated, again, the rain slowing down the mover's schedule.
A reporter with the LCD had the chance to drive out to Brookside on Tuesday. Several individuals were seen walking around the rough, poorly-paved roads.
“I know people have been going out to today, coordinating their moves with their trailers,” Fletcher said, understandably. “That's where it stands right now.”
He said CoHO and other volunteers were very clear with residents about that Monday cut-off date and that after, no one was to live there but wasn't worried about anything happening to the residents who were still in the process of getting their homes moved.
The LCD asked Fletcher what they're doing now, after spending the last 70 plus days in go-mode, aimed toward that June end date.
The director has said in the past that his responsibility since April has been to focus on the families, to be the shoulder to cry on, the support, helping each make the best decision for their family. In that time, Fletcher said he really hadn't had the opportunity to let the situation sink in.
"Really, it's like coming out of a fog right now," he said, a bit dazed.
For the past seven years, CoHO has had two trailers out at Brookside, the nonprofit serving its community in various ways including getting students off the bus after school, helping with homework, hosting movie nights, going out into the community for birthday parties and other events.
The eviction for residents, was also for CoHO.
As staff members sat together the other day, not in the park, it hit them that that was their "new normal," a stark realization.
Fletcher has said in the past, the Brookside residents, the community and what CoHO did there, wasn't something he was going to let fade from reality.
“This is not going to be forgotten,” he told the LCD. “This community is not going to be forgotten. Whatever comes after this ... there were people that lived here. There were people that had birthday parties and just great hangouts, all types of different types of life events that shaped all of us involved.”
Fletcher said CoHO still plans to follow up with families, working with Conway Corporation and making sure to help ease the transition for everyone.
"Just checking in on families and making sure they're settled," he said.
With school starting in less than a month, Fletcher said they're checking in with the groups about school supplies and needed items.
"We're still family and family takes care of one another," he said. "That's going to be our focus going forward."