Legal Services Helps Keys Residents Avoid Homelessness

Updated: Jun 25, 2019

Nejla Calvo, Esq.

Mobile homes are the last form of non-subsidized affordable housing in South Florida, but mobile homes are vulnerable and can suffer extensive damage from natural disasters. Such was the case for the residents of Flamingo Island Mobile Home Park.

In September 2018, all residents in three Flamingo Island mobile home parks in Monroe received notice that the park was closing in six months. The land where the parks are located was purchased by a developer who is going to redevelop the land and create affordable workforce housing for residents of the Lower Keys. Many of the mobile home park residents recently put much of their savings into making renovations and repairs to their homes after Hurricane Irma. Under Florida law, the mobile home owners, who own their home but rented the land underneath from the land owner, would only be entitled to $1,375 in relocation funds if forced to abandon their homes. Renters would not be entitled to any relocation funds.

Legal Services attorney Nejla Calvo, Esq. represented 6 mobile homeowners and 1 elderly/disabled renter who received the notice of the park closure. After extended negotiations with the park owner, each mobile homeowner received a total value of up to $20,000 each in relocation funds and an extra 6 months to relocate (one year total), and the elderly/disabled renter received $5,550 in relocation funds. In addition, the homeowners and renter also obtained the right to return to the affordable housing units once they are constructed on the property where the mobile homes were previously located. Through this effective advocacy, the mobile home park residents and their families will avoid forced homelessness and will be able to move forward with their lives with dignity. 

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