United States

Eviction of remaining Filipinos in mobile home park in Carson, California stalled

Xenia Tupas

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Eviction of remaining Filipinos in mobile home park in Carson, California stalled

PUSHBACK. The Imperial Avalon Mobile Estates Homeowners Association and their supporters gather to lobby for the non-eviction of senior residents in the Imperial Avalon mobile home park in Carson, California.

Xenia Tupas

The landowners team and the relocation team are expected to work out a solution so that the homeowners, some of whom are low-income and retired Filipinos, do not end up homeless

LOS ANGELES, USA — About a hundred residents of the Imperial Avalon mobile home park in Carson City will not be evicted from their homes until parties come up with a working solution that can move them to a safe and affordable housing through a court appointed special master.

Judge James C. Chalfant of Department 85 of the Los Angeles Superior Court Tuesday morning, October 31, issued a temporary restraining order in favor of the tenant-residents who sought relief against the park owner and a developer which intends to build a 1,200 unit apartment and townhome project in the area and has scheduled closure of the mobile home park on November 1.

The judge had ordered in a jam-packed court that every tenant would have met with the relocation specialist of the park owner by November 21 to come up a solution and that all disputes will be worked out with the special master. The injunction remains in effect until the special master has decided on the issues of every tenant, the judge added. Another hearing has been set on December 1.

Tim Tatro, counsel for the Imperial Avalon Mobile Estates Homeowners Association said that “today is a good day” because the court ordered a temporary halt to the closure of the park or any evictions until the remaining residents can find a “safe and affordable place to live, which is all they want.”

The landowners team and the relocation team are expected to work out a solution so that these folks, which are about a hundred, do not end up homeless.

“Their homes are not mobile. They cannot be moved. So park closure means loss of tenancy, loss of the home, loss of ownership, loss of equity on the home, and loss of community. We’re trying the best the we can to find another safe community for these folks, many of whom are seniors, low-income, and living on social security benefits,” he said.

“We are not trying to stop the project, we are trying to find safe, affordable place for them to go,” he said as he outlined the challenges the remaining residents face such as the lack of affordable housing in Carson or in the South Bay Area, which means that they are four or five times as what residents currently pay and that they cannot income qualify.

Low-income, retired, senior Filipinos affected

One fifth of the remaining residents are low-income, retired, and senior Filipinos who have lived in the mobile home park for decades. Originally, Imperial Avalon estates had 400 residents comprised of Filipinos, Hispanics, Samoans, African-Americans, Japanese, and Koreans who owned mobile homes and paid about $420 monthly lease. Only 25% of the residents have remained because they have no place to go and have sought assistance from the Filipino Migrant Center.

Mary Santos, 76, a retired Filipino caregiver relies on her $601 monthly social security benefits and said she and her husband Roger, 86, and a retired US Navy personnel, cannot afford to go anywhere because one-bedroom apartments in the area cost $2,075 month.

She said that they learned that Imperial Avalon was for seniors that was why they moved and with the high rent, they cannot afford. “How can I afford that? And we plant our own food, we plant our own fruit to get by and not to buy anything anymore,“ she said about their life in the mobile home park.

“I don’t want to be homeless. What are we going to do, where do we go?” she told reporters shaking and very emotional, adding she slept only for two hours thinking about the issue.


Jeff Steiman, president of the homeowners association said they have been going through uncertainty, and people in their 70s and 80s are now asked “to get up and move.”

“You are taking what’s left of their retirement, you are taking their homes, you are instilling fear at this stage, I am not there yet, and I can only ask them what it is like but, it can’t be comfortable.”

He said that the others who have unfortunately left the mobile home park is due to fear, tension or contempt and those who stood up, these are their homes, these are their lives and it has not been easy for any of them at all.

There are already 14 deaths since four years ago when the residents received their initial letter. Claire Vibal, vice president of the homeowners association, confirmed that two of the deaths were by suicide and the others died from the stress at this park.

Like the rest, she has no idea where to go because her family has moved out of state – only her immediate family are here and cannot even find anything for even a thousand dollars a month. She said that big corporations do not care. “It’s all business and there is no human caring at all,” she said.

Carson City sits on a landfill and is still a landfill, including the Imperial Avalon estate, which is a 55+ mobile home park, is in close proximity to the city hall, Steiman said. Statistics reveal that 25% of the city’s total population is Filipino and had a Filipino mayor in 1997.

Information online states that the West Hollywood-based Faring Capital will replace the nearly half-a-century mobile home park with 680 market-rate apartments, 180 senior apartments, 380 townhomes and restaurants by 2027.

Homelessness is a major problem in Los Angeles and Filipinos are not spared. A separate group of 20 Filipinos lived in tents and makeshift homes for months near Vermont and Beverly boulevard, were recently moved to a hotel which the city has converted into a homeless shelter. These Filipinos, in their 30s to 50s, couldn’t afford the rent after they lost their jobs.

While in the encampment, they stayed in close proximity to each other, helping one another and had regular communal dinners. Before the City of Los Angeles provided assistance, different groups of Filipinos from southern California occasionally provided them food and clothing and other basic necessities. – Rappler.com

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