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    Category: Mobile Home Communities

    Messenger: Fear builds in immigrant community along with isolation brought by pandemic – - April 1, 2020 by admin

    Amanda Tello drove her red SUV carefully down the narrow streets of the mobile home park tucked away in west St. Louis County. With cars parked on both sides of the street there was room for just one vehicle to pass at a time.

    She was there for the same reason I was: following a tip that officers from Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE, had raided the park, looking for undocumented immigrants.

    There had been no raid, though a man who lived in the park told me there had been some suspected ICE agents driving around for a couple of days, in vehicles with dark, tinted windows.

    Theres always a fear, Tello told me, in communities like this one with heavy immigrant populations, particularly Hispanic ones. She works with a group of activists helping immigrants gain access to services, food and utility aid, and educational opportunities for children. She is part of a rapid response team that heads to neighborhoods whenever there is a report of a possible ICE raid, to record interactions with federal officers and to provide help to people if its needed.

    These days, ICE hasnt been particularly active in St. Louis, she says. Their office, like so many others, is shut down because of the coronavirus pandemic. Meanwhile, Tello and others are trying to help guide immigrants especially those who dont speak much English through the crisis.

    Its a very vulnerable time for poor people, Tello says.

    Indeed, just last week, more than 3 million people across the country filed for unemployment in one week, a dubious new record. But many of the people whom Tello and organizations that help immigrants serve cant access most government aid programs. Their ability to react to the pandemic is that much more difficult.

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    Messenger: Fear builds in immigrant community along with isolation brought by pandemic -

    Coronavirus: Multiple US communities struggle to battle virus with no access to water – The Independent - April 1, 2020 by admin

    Signs at the Forest Hollow Mobile Home Community in Beaumont, Texas, advise residents to wash their hands. That simple act is the first line of defence against the infection that sickens victims of the coronavirus.

    But when Amy Yancy,unemployed, left the hospital this month after suffering a miscarriage, she was unable to follow the instructions.

    The water at the trailer park had been shut off.

    Sharing the full story, not just the headlines

    I was terrified we would get sick, Yancy said. Already, eight people have tested positive for the novel virus in the southeastern Texas city, where nearly 20 per cent of residents are in poverty above the national average.

    Yancys predicament is shared by Americans throughout the country, as the escalating outbreak exposes how uneven access is to resources like water resources allowing private individuals unable to protect themselves as public institutions stumble. As many as 15 million Americans experience a water shutoff each year, according to one 2016 estimate. That leaves them unable to clean themselves and flush the toilet, all because of nonpayment, compounded by spiralling late fees.

    Scores of cities have tried to prevent water deprivation from exacerbating the public-health emergency by pausing shutoffs during the pandemic. Some states have even stepped in. But getting the water turned back on can prove an arduous process, leaving the most vulnerable without basic protection against the coronavirus.

    In numerous cases where service has been restored, access has depended on legal intervention or philanthropic goodwill, underscoring the precariousness of public works, even during a pandemic.

    You cant wash your hands, you cant flush your toilet, you cant clean your house or take care of your family, said Mary Grant, a campaign director at Food and Water Watch. And during a global pandemic, we shouldnt need to depend on court action or some other extraordinary step for people to have basic water service.

    In Beaumont, the problem was not that Yancy had failed to pay her bills. She was up to date, she said, on her $1,050 monthly rent, which covers water, sewage and trash for the two-bedroom trailer she shares with her husband.

    Theirs is one of 65 units, whose residents include both very young children and elderly adults; some live as many as eight to a trailer. One resident, Tonya Lanham, is caring for her fianc, who is sick with cancer, at the trailer park.

    It was the facilitys operator, Southern Choice LLC, that was behind on water payments following significant cost spikes. In dispute was $50,000, according to court records.

    No hype, just the advice and analysis you need

    The city turned off the water on 19 March, the same day the states public health commissioner declared a public-health disaster and the same day Yancy returned from the hospital.

    Without proper running water, US residents are asking how they can hope to wash their hands properly in the fight against Covid-19(Getty)

    She needed water not only to stay hydrated for her recovery but to keep herself clean. Her husband found two gallons discarded on a random aisle of a nearby store everyone was panic-buying by that point and her sister drove an hour-and-a-half to retrieve another two gallons, she said. They used what they had to bathe and flush the toilet.

    Jeff, who asked to be identified only by his first name because he works for the state, moved his family to a hotel room for a day so they could wash.

    We were in a situation where we couldnt follow the health advice being put out by our own government because they had cut off our water, he said.

    Meanwhile, complaints piled up on a Facebook page for the trailer park. Lanham, 48, used social media to contact a judge in Jefferson County. His wife replied, saying her complaint was the second they had received about water shutoffs in the area.

    An attorney for the property manager sought to negotiate with the city, proposing the operator pay what it could. But the city demanded $30,000 to restore service, according to court records. The city manager, Kyle Hayes, did not respond to multiple requests for comment.

    A representative for the property, Bill Rodwell, said the city had been overbilling the trailer park. We want to do everything in our power to provide a safe, nice, quiet place to live, he added

    The owners of a Missouri insurance agency contributed $5,000 to cover bills after the city said it would cut off water to residents who had not paid (iStock)

    Residents at Forest Hollow said the conditions have been anything but.

    I dont care if you have an ongoing dispute with the landlord you dont do that during a crisis, said Lanham, who recently lost her job as an assistant manager at a Lubys restaurant.

    On 21 March, Southern Choice sued the city in district court in Jefferson County. At 6pmthat Saturday, a judge granted a temporary restraining order requiring the city to turn on the water.

    Specifically, the lack of running water could result in loss of life and prohibits hand washing and proper hygiene during the Covid-19 health disaster, found the judge, Baylor Wortham.

    The water came on that night. But the judges order expires next month.

    I dont know how long the water will stay on, Yancy said.

    In some places, it is still being shut off.

    In Billings, Montana, identified by Food and Water Watch as among the 30 cities with the highest shut-off rates, terminations continue, an employee with the public works department confirmed this week. Mount Vernon, Illinois, conducted shutoffs throughout March but will pause new ones in April, according to the city manager.

    Shutoffs are most frequent in the South, as well as in low-income cities burdened by poverty and unemployment. But the problem is increasingly pervasive. Nearly 36 per cent of households could be unable to afford water in five years if rates rise at projected levels, a scholar at Michigan State University recently found.

    Top: Nabi Younes market, Mosul

    Bottom: Charles Bridge, Prague





















    Top: Nabi Younes market, Mosul

    Bottom: Charles Bridge, Prague





















    While draft legislation in the House responding to the coronavirus outbreak included $1.5bn to defray water costs, coupled with a mandate that recipient states halt utility shutoffs, the $2.2tn package advanced in the Senate and approved Friday by the House does not include a similar allocation.

    That leaves tens of thousands of water systems across the country to make these decisions, said Grant, the campaign director at Food and Water Watch. Its a patchwork of regulatory agencies.

    Legal action was required in Beaumont, after a three-day scramble to get the city to reverse course.

    In Troy, Missouri, a private act of philanthropy filled the gap. This month, as the novel virus bore down on the state, the owners of an insurance agency contributed $5,000 to cover delinquent bills after the city said it would cut off water to residents who had not paid.

    We rely on members of the community to give us their money to sustain our livelihoods, so we needed to be able to reverse engineer that and help our neighbours, said Ramiz Hakim, a co-owner of North Star Insurance Advisors in Wentzville, Missouri.

    Jodi Schneider, Troys city clerk, said the city was following its regular policy for having to do monthly disconnections. She said the board of aldermen would consider changes to the policy at its next meeting, scheduled for Monday night.

    Among cities that have halted shutoffs, many are also vowing to restore utilities discontinued before the onset of the public-health emergency. But not proactively enough, warn advocates.

    In Detroit, where taps were shut off in about 23,000 homes last year, the city said its crews were canvassing the 2,800 homes where water was known to be discontinued, and that nearly 1,500 homes had already taken advantage of the promised restoration. But Monica Lewis-Patrick, a Detroit activist, said there were tens of thousands of homes overlooked in the citys data.

    In Buffalo, New York, the water department has agreed to restore service but is asking residents to call a customer service line to set up an appointment. Local attorneys said the arrangement presumes the citys most vulnerable residents have access to a telephone, as well as to television or other media where the number has been circulated.

    But Oluwole McFoy, chairman of the board for Buffalo Water, said the city cannot instantaneously switch back on the water for fear that plumbing problems might lead to flooding. We need a contact, and we need someone present when our crews arrive, McFoy said.

    The citys message, he added, was, Please call, please call.

    Steven Halpern, an attorney at the Western New York Law Centre, called the expectation grossly unfair. He helped one of his clients, a 67-year-old Vietnam veteran who had been collecting rainwater to flush his toilet, request service, but he said there were doubtlessly hundreds of others in the city who dont have lawyers, who havent been in contact with anyone about this issue.

    His client, who asked not to be identified, said, The shower felt so good.

    Andrea Silleabhin, executive director of the Buffalo-based Partnership for the Public Good, estimated as many as 4,000 households a year have their water shut off for lack of payment. The city should have a list, she said, and could proactively communicate with these households.

    McFoy said 128 households had been without water in the last month, and 64 had seen the resource restored since the onset of the pandemic. Now, the water department is accepting from advocates a list of their clients most in need of water.

    In turn, advocates are asking the city to consider why a resource as fundamental as water is ever switched off.

    Equitable access to affordable water was a national issue even before this crisis, Halpern said

    The Washington Post

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    Coronavirus: Multiple US communities struggle to battle virus with no access to water - The Independent

    25 Marion County residents test positive for COVID-19 with majority in Ocala – Ocala News - April 1, 2020 by admin

    Twenty-five Marion County residents have now tested positive for the COVID-19 virus, with the majority of them 17 living in Ocala.

    The patients are comprised of 15 women and 10 men and they range in age from 19 to 88. Two remain hospitalized.

    Three are residents of Summerfield but it isnt clear if they live in The Villages or the surrounding retirement communities of Del Webb Spruce Creek, Stonecrest or Spruce Creek South. Others live in Belleview (2), Ocklawaha (1) and Dunnellon (1).

    The tri-county area is reporting 142 Coronavirus patients 45 of whom said they hadnt been in contact with anyone else suffering from the virus. So far, 2,609 people have been tested locally, with 2,463 negative results. Four tests were inconclusive and 160 people are awaiting testing.

    Thirty-nine percent of those patients 56 reported traveling recently either domestically or abroad, while its unknown if another 40 have a travel history. Those who are known to have traveled visited a variety of foreign destinations including Africa, Australia, Bahamas, Belize, Brazil, Caribbean, Egypt, Europe, Germany, Honduras, Ireland, Mexico, Netherlands, Panama, Puerto Rico, Spain, Turkey, Turks and Caicos Islands, United Kingdom.

    They also reported visiting 15 states and many other destinations in Florida. Those other states include California, Colorado, Georgia, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont and Wisconsin.

    Sumter County is reporting 51 COVID-19 patients, all of whom are residents. That includes 25 men, 25 women and a 44-year-old who is listed as unknown. The ages of the patients range from 18 to 92 and 15 of them remain hospitalized. Thirty-eight live in The Villages, while the others reside in Lake Panasoffkee (8), Bushnell (3), Wildwood (1) and Webster (1).

    There are 66 Coronavirus patients in Lake County, 59 of whom are residents. The 34 women and 32 men range in age from 18 to 85 and 13 are still being treated in local hospitals. Besides the five that live in The Villages and a woman in her 60s who lives in the Lady Lake Mobile Home Park and was the first area resident to test positive for COVID-19, the patients reside in Clermont (17), Leesburg (12), Tavares (6), Mascotte (4), Groveland (4), Eustis (3), Minneola (2), Sorrento (2), Mount Dora (1) and Okahumpka (1).

    All told 6,741 people have tested positive across the Sunshine State, with 6,490 of those being Floridians. There have been 85 deaths and 857 patients remain hospitalized.

    As of Tuesday night, 63,400 people had been tested in Florida, with 56,644 negative results. There were 15 inconclusive tests and 1,261 people waiting to be tested.

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    25 Marion County residents test positive for COVID-19 with majority in Ocala - Ocala News

    What happens in the rest of Australia matters here. Please stay home for yourselves and for us – The Guardian - April 1, 2020 by admin

    The Purple House in Alice Springs is usually a wonderful crazy place. People from remote communities come in for dialysis, to do their washing, to cook a kangaroo tail on the fire, to see a podiatrist or a physiotherapist. Theres singing, dancing, guitar playing and lots of cooking. Its like a big, joyful drop-in centre.

    This week it is eerily quiet, and a whole lot of work has gone into making it so. Our front door has a sign that says Patients only, no visitors and theres hand sanitiser at the door.

    Everyone has quickly become obsessed with hand hygiene and I am working really hard not to reach out to hug or comfort people when they are upset.

    The dialysis continues and the social support team is out and about, checking on people in hostels and town camps, delivering soap, washing powder, tissues and healthy food. There is a sense of quiet before a storm.

    This week we published a video in language, in Pintupi. We produced it in 24 hours. It had no budget, but we got it made and we shared it widely to help our communities understand what is going on, what we all need to do, and why.

    There was a rush as we got news last week that the borders were closing and communities would be locked down. The rush was to get as many dialysis patients and their families back out bush where there is currently no virus. This becomes more complicated when you need dialysis three times a week to stay alive.

    There is a lot of confusion out there.

    How do we replace nurses when they are exhausted and support them from a distance? How do we relieve them given the quarantining regulations? When will our nurses who are overseas be able to return to us, and how can we possibly recruit staff at this time?

    Do we have enough medical supplies? When will our orders of face masks and other protective equipment be supplied?

    What will happen if or when there is a positive case in a community and the flying doctors and hospitals are so overwhelmed that we are told that we need to just try to do the very best we can for people?

    There is distrust of the government based on generations of botched policies and draconian measures. The restrictions on social gatherings, on funerals, on meetings have turned communities upside down.

    And when people ask us How long? we cant answer.

    But there are also stories of incredible kindness and hope. Our isolation gives us a little more time to prepare than the big cities. Families and communities are working together to look after each other, to prepare as best they can, to minimise their risks andensure that old people, people with disability and children get priority.

    Aboriginal community-controlled health organisations are meeting almost every day by phone to compare notes, share resources and knowledge.

    What happens in the rest of the country affects us heavily. People who can stay home, please stay home! Do it for yourselves, but do it for us too.

    This virus knows no boundaries in terms of wealth, status, language or education. But for those less able to cope with its impact, it will be devastating.

    People in remote communities who have the least resources to deal with this are doing their bit. Can you help?

    Sarah Brown is the chief executive of Purple House, the Aboriginal community-controlled dialysis service based in Alice Springs, which operates 18 remote clinics and a mobile dialysis unit called the Purple Truck

    Comments on this piece are premoderated to ensure discussion remains on topics raised by the writer. Please be aware there may be a short delay in comments appearing.

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    What happens in the rest of Australia matters here. Please stay home for yourselves and for us - The Guardian

    News Corp to suspend 60 community newspapers across the country because of coronavirus – ABC News - April 1, 2020 by admin

    Updated April 01, 2020 15:54:16

    News Corp says it will suspend printing of 60 community newspapers in New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland and South Australia from April 9.

    The organisation said advertising revenues had rapidly declined after the restrictions placed on real estate auctions and home inspections, and the forced closure of event venues and dine-in restaurants during the coronavirus pandemic.

    The move follows the news of the closure of several Victorian independent newspapers last month as a result of a decline in revenue resulting from the pandemic.

    A statement released by News Corp said the community mastheads would "continue to publish digitally with reporters and photographers expanding News Corp's hyper-local news coverage for consumers across Australia".

    News Corp Australasia executive chairman Michael Miller said the decision to suspend printing of its community newspapers was not taken lightly.

    He said News Corp remained committed to serving Australia's many communities with trusted, professional journalism.

    The impact of COVID-19 on the community newspapers came on top of the toll on media from the refusal of digital platforms to pay publishers to use their content, Mr Miller said.

    He said during the COVID-19 emergency News Corp's main priority was to preserve jobs and get the company in a strong position to counter the crisis.

    "During this unprecedented time it is imperative that we reduce costs while continuing to keep the community informed and doing all we can to retain jobs," Mr Miller said.

    "The print suspension will allow us to assess the shape of the market itself and future conditions, taking into account how the coronavirus situation unfolds in the coming period."

    The statement also said News Corp would give community newspaper readers the opportunity to take up a free 28-day digital subscription.

    The offer allows access to the websites, apps and mobile sites of News's metro mastheads the Herald Sun, The Daily Telegraph, The Courier-Mail and The Advertiser.


    First posted April 01, 2020 11:11:28

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    News Corp to suspend 60 community newspapers across the country because of coronavirus - ABC News

    MTN Rwanda Ramps Up Efforts to Support Communities In The Fight Against Covid-19 – Taarifa Rwanda - April 1, 2020 by admin

    MTN Rwanda has announced that is has put in place additional interventions to support the Governments efforts to communicate and raise awareness on precautionary measures to prevent and contain the spread of Covid-19.

    Driven by the belief that everyone deserves the benefits of a modern connected life, MTN has rolled out a series of mobile connectivity, digital and mobile fintech solutions for its communities.

    MTNs priority is keeping people connected during this period. We need to play our part in the alleviation of the economic, social and educational impact through the support of key institutions such as Health, ICT and Education, said MTN CEO, Mitwa Ngambi.

    The company, through its Foundation, has donated Frw 10 million to Rwanda Biomedical Centre to support them as they work tirelessly to stop the spread of the virus and has offered free MTN calls among health workers for a period of 90 days.

    MTN has also availed free media channel space (radio, TV, social media, SMS, Ring Back Tone, IVR platform) to promote the Ministry of Healths sensitization messages.

    In partnership with the Ministry of Education and Ministry of ICT and Innovation, MTN has made online access to Rwandan universities and school websites free to allow students to access in house learning materials.

    Students can access, and at any time without consuming any data.

    We know how important it is to support continued learning for students during this period when institutions of learning are closed. To this end, we have zero-rated some educational websites to enable learners to access core curriculum materials and facilitate distance learning, she added.

    In a bid to better serve customers in this period and beyond, MTN through its Digital platforms, recently announced that it has also increased the daily limit on Airtime Transfer (Me2U) from Rwf 3,000 to Rwf 6,000 as well as increased the airtime account balance limit from Rwf 500,000 to Rwf 1,000,000.

    In cooperation with the Central Bank of Rwanda to drive cashless payments, MTN Rwanda recently waived fees on sending money to others, on all transactions from Banks to MoMo wallets and vice versa, as well as payments for goods and services using MoMoPay for a period of 90 days.

    Social distancing amongst other precautionary interventions has undoubtedly increased the importance of communities staying digitally connected. In light of this, MTN has seen a spike in Internet traffic.

    Indicating how the company plans to deal with the upsurge in online traffic and network load, Mrs. Ngambi said, We have noted an increase in internet traffic, almost doubling in residential areas due to the current situation. We have taken immediate actions to optimize and expand the existing network resources to accommodate the increase in demand over the coming weeks.

    A key priority for MTN is to ensure business continuity. Services over this time will be even more critical, so priority is ensuring network continuity, availability of spares and equipment and the upgrading of capacity.

    MTN Rwanda has taken a series of precautionary measures to ensure continuity of services and the safety of its stakeholders including employees, customers, communities and suppliers against the outbreak.

    All recommended and necessary prevention mechanisms have been put in place in all MTN touchpoints.

    A work-from-home plan for employees has been implemented in order to reduce the number of employees in offices and Service Centres at a given time and provisioning of hand sanitizers and temperature screening at all points.

    Franchisees, Agents and Suppliers/Service Providers have also been guided to ensure that they are taking the same precautionary and preventative measures.

    Customers can seek MTN services through the call centre by dialling 100, visit the Service Centres from 8am to 3pm or engage MTN agents that remain operational to ensure continued Mobile Money and airtime service delivery.

    To curb the spread of Covid-19, Rwanda Utilities and Regulatory Authority (RURA) has put in place measures for Agents to adhere to when conducting transactions with customers.

    MTN Mobile Money and Airtime Agents must wear gloves and masks at all times and keep a 1 metre distance from customers.

    They are not allowed to work under the same umbrella/station nor exchange mobile devices. Agents who violate these set guidelines will be subject to penalties which may include closure of their businesses.

    MTN Rwandas top priorities are to keep our customers connected and our employees safe and healthy. We stand ready to leverage our core expertise, technology and infrastructure to support and align our response with the efforts of the Government to contain and mitigate the spread of Covid-19, Mrs. Ngambi said.

    Original post:
    MTN Rwanda Ramps Up Efforts to Support Communities In The Fight Against Covid-19 - Taarifa Rwanda

    Residents fight to keep homes, as demolition begins for new mobile home park near Lake Galena – The Intelligencer - March 5, 2020 by admin

    A developer is demolishing an existing community to make way for a new 46-unit mobile home community near Lake Galena in New Britain Township. A few residents living in existing mobile homes, are fighting to stay as demolition begins.

    Before Dale Bowles moved into a New Britain Township mobile home 11 years ago, he was homeless, sleeping on the concrete floor of a storage unit in Willow Grove.

    "This community has been a gem," said Bowles, pacing outside as a excavator with an extended bucket clawed through the roof of a former neighbors home.

    His home faces the same fate, but hes not leaving.

    Clutching an eviction notice that says his community is being "terminated," Bowles is fighting to hold on to his home or get what he considers fair compensation from the developer who is razing the properties at Lake Ridge Mobile Home Park in order to build a new, more modern mobile home park.

    According to a sketch plan of the proposal submitted to the county in October, RHG Properties LLC is looking to build 46 double-wide (25-foot by 52-foot) mobile home units on a 14.73-acre site located on Limekiln Road, just 800 feet from the intersection with Ferry Road.

    Neither New Britain Township nor the property owners returned calls or responded to questions about the displacement of residents or the plans for the new mobile home community, which will quadruple the number of units there.

    As heavy machinery ripped through homes and loaded dumpsters Monday afternoon, Bowles likened the site to an aftermath of a hurricane.

    But hes not budging.

    "We are sticking strong because we have no place else to go," said Bowles, who was told to be out by last Sunday but is fighting the developers orders. His son, Andrew Bowles, who lives in a neighboring home with his wife and 4-year-old son, is among four other homeowners who refuse to give up their titles to their homes.

    While they own their homes, they rent the lots they sit on as is common practice in mobile home communities.

    Bowles treasures the location by Lake Galena, where he takes walks with his grandson and enjoys the park and the local wildlife. Finding affordable housing in the area is tough enough, but nearly impossible at a peaceful location with so many amenities close by, he said.

    The lease hes been paying on the land at 35 Limekiln Road is $800 a month, which includes utilities.

    "Where can I find that around here? No where," he said.

    Watching his son drive a toy Jeep along the rural road, Andrew Bowles said the location is both close to his wifes job at Pine Run nursing home, and its walking distance to Lenape Valley Foundation, where he gets care.

    Both Dale and Andrew Bowles have been offered $3,500 for their homes. But they would like more.

    "Im asking for $5,000. Im not asking for much more," said the the older Bowles.

    Considering how much new mobile homes go for in the area, he believes his price is reasonable.

    In a nearby mobile home community, Colonial Heritage, new mobile homes are selling for around $149,000, according to sales listed on ABC Home Sales, which will be selling and installing new homes in the rising New Britain community too.

    Folks of #LakeGalena mobile home park @NewBritainTwp1 want more from developer whos razing homes to build 50 new mobile homes. #forcedout

    Bowles would be interested in one of the new communitys homes, but the price is out of reach. He asked if he could keep his home in the community, but he was told his residence is "too dilapidated."

    The eviction notice came from property manager ABC Home Sales.

    Dated Feb. 20, the letter demands that Bowles "vacate the leased property and give possession of leased property to the landlord within ten days."

    "This is because the manufactured home community is being terminated."

    RHG Properties LLC, owned by Frank Perano, bought the property for $700,000 in 2004 from Colonial Park for Mobile Homes, according to county assessment records.

    Fighting demolition

    Bowles, now represented by attorneys with the Community Justice Project, said hell wait for the courts to decide. Many of the residents forced out include seniors, the disabled and others who dont have the means to buy or rent in the surrounding communities, he said.

    Attorney Kevin Quisenberry, who is representing Bowles as part of the Pennsylvania Legal Aid Network, is working to negotiate an agreement with the mobile park owner to help displaced residents secure both more time to find a home and resources to appraise their homes so they can be compensated for more than what developers are required to pay by state law, which is $2,500.

    He said the developer gave the community a six-month notice that the park is closing. A spokesman from the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency, which works to find affordable housing for low-income residents, said the owner RHG Properties did alert the agency, as required, in August.

    The protections in place for displaced residents from mobile homes are essential, Quisenberry said, as such closures trigger a toll on a population of residents who often struggle to find affordable housing.

    "You have a group of people who own homes but rent the lot where the home sits," said Quisenberry. "If the park is going to close, residents are stuck with a difficult choice: Can they move the home to some place or not? Its an expensive proposition to move a home, costing thousands depending on what needs to be done, and where are they going to move it to?"

    Plus, the move is shocking to families, who often rely on public transportation, neighbors and community resources to uproot their lives, he said.

    "We represent people who cant pay for everything they need, so being uprooted and forced to rebuild their life and situation is even more difficult for people with limited financial means," Quisenberry said.

    Bowles just doesnt want to end up where he was 11 years ago. He said property managers have already threatened to turn off the utilities.

    "If something doesnt happen soon, Ill be homeless."

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    Residents fight to keep homes, as demolition begins for new mobile home park near Lake Galena - The Intelligencer

    Preparation is key as severe weather season looms – Miami County Republic - March 5, 2020 by admin

    Its Kansas Severe Weather Awareness Week (March 2-6), and Miami County residents likely heard the statewide tornado safety drill that was scheduled to take place at 10 a.m. Tuesday, March 3.

    Miami County Emergency Management and the communications division of the Miami County Sheriffs Office, in cooperation with the National Weather Service, moved the regular monthly testing of the outdoor warning sirens to participate in the statewide drill. The monthly testing normally occurs on the first Wednesday of every month.

    Miami County Emergency Management Coordinator Mike Fleming said Miami County has 15 storm sirens, but he emphasized that, like all storm sirens, they are designed to be heard outdoors and not necessarily indoors.

    In addition, the county also can set off four storm sirens in the city limits of Louisburg. The city of Paola has nine storm sirens, and Osawatomie has four, and those cities control their own sirens.

    Fleming said the sirens have been strategically placed throughout the county in areas where people are likely to gather outside, such as campgrounds at Hillsdale Lake and mobile home parks. They are also located in rural communities, such as Hillsdale, Block, Fontana, Beagle and Bucyrus.

    There were 89 tornadoes reported in Kansas last year, including one in Miami County, according to the annual severe weather awareness packet provided by the state Division of Emergency Management, National Weather Service and Kansas Emergency Management Association.

    A majority of the tornadoes (56) took place in May. There were no reported fatalities, but one violent tornado, an EF4, began in Douglas County and crossed into Leavenworth County on May 28. Damage from the tornado was estimated at $26 million, making it the costliest tornado of 2019.

    Damage from Miami Countys tornado was less extreme, but it was still devastating to local residents, especially the congregation members of Trinity Lutheran Church in Block.

    The 2019 tornado ripped through the Block area in the early morning hours of Monday, April 29, and local community members awoke to find that Trinity Lutheran Church had been damaged.

    No injuries were reported in the tornado, which began at 4:10 a.m. six miles east of Osawatomie and traveled for about two miles before dissipating at 4:13 a.m. eight miles southeast of Osawatomie, according to the National Weather Service.

    Officials determined that it was an EF-0 tornado with winds as high as 85 miles per hour and a very narrow path that ranged in width from 10 to 50 feet. It was also labeled as a QLCS tornado, according to the severe weather awareness packet. QLCS stands for Quasi-Linear Convective System, and it is used to label tornadoes that form very quickly with little warning. They usually spin up with a line of storms, often called a squall line.

    Officials said there was so much rain activity at the time, the tornado likely wouldnt have been visible.

    Fleming and Miami County Sheriff Frank Kelly joined several congregation members at the church later that morning to assess the damage.

    The roof was ripped off the southwest corner of the building, the flag pole was bent nearly in half and the church sign was a pile of rubble.

    The damage also was extensive in the nearby cemetery, where several tombstones were toppled.

    In addition to the damage at the church, Kelly said a large trailer was toppled and moved at a home near the church, and power lines were ripped out at another nearby home.

    Jamie Bolling said she and her husband didnt have any warning when the storm tore through their rural property southeast of Osawatomie. They didnt even make it to the basement.

    The powerful wind uprooted several trees, downed power lines, flipped a trailer, blew out the windows of their rock home built in 1868 and toppled their chimney.

    Flooding was also an issue in Miami County during last years severe weather season.

    Persistent, heavy rains in late May prompted flooding in low-lying areas along the Marais des Cygnes River in Miami and Linn counties and caused the city of Osawatomie to initiate emergency measures.

    When the Marais des Cygnes crested at 40.27 feet mid-afternoon on May 22 in Osawatomie, it was the first time the river topped 40 feet at the community since the historic July 1, 2007, flood in which the river rose to 49.19 feet, according to National Weather Service data.

    Osawatomie public works crews installed stop logs in the levees southwest gate about 3 a.m. May 22 to prevent rising water from entering town, former City Manager Don Cawby said later that morning.

    During Severe Weather Awareness Week, local residents are encouraged to review their own safety procedures to make sure they and their family members remain safe during weather emergencies.

    Fleming recommends that families have a plan of action for their home and establish a safe place that includes items like a battery-operated radio and shoes.

    He also reiterated that community members cant always rely on immediate assistance following a disaster, which is why it is important to be prepared.

    Part of that preparation is information, and Fleming encourages local residents to sign up for the countys emergency notification system. More information is available online by going to Miami Countys website at and clicking on Sheriff under the department tab.

    Cell phone users should already be receiving Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA) unless they have modified the settings on their phone or it is not carried by their provider.

    Fleming also suggests that cell phone users download multiple weather apps to get reports from different sources, and he suggests using an app that tracks your location, rather than one based on a zip code.

    Read more:
    Preparation is key as severe weather season looms - Miami County Republic

    Annual block grants in El Cajon will go to several groups – The San Diego Union-Tribune - March 5, 2020 by admin

    Two programs that provide shelter for homeless individuals and several groups that look out for the needs of senior citizens will share a portion of the city of El Cajons community development block grants funding.

    The El Cajon City Council last week made a preliminary decision on where the citys 2020 block grants will be spent, a plan which will be finalized at the end of April.

    The actual funds, which come through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, are expected to be available on or after July 1, according to the city. El Cajon expects to get about $1.36 million from HUD for block grants.

    The block grant system, as stated on the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development website, is a flexible program that provides communities with resources to address a wide range of unique community development needs. Only cities with more than 50,000 residents are eligible; groups receiving money must spend it on activities that benefit low- and moderate-income residents and/or low- and moderate-income areas, as well as meet certain other requirements.

    The funding the city is expected to get in 2020 will include nearly $887,000 for public facilities or capital funding.

    About $500,000 of that will help cover about 40 new street lights for eligible residential areas in El Cajon; $275,000 will go toward installing or retrofitting about 80 ADA compliant curb ramps and adjacent sidewalks; $25,000 will go for the replacement of hand and guardrails at the East County Transitional Living Center; $24,000 will go to improve facilities at the Home of Guiding Hands on South Lemon Avenue; and $21,000 will go to replace a gymnasium roof at the Boys & Girls Club of East County. An additional $47,000 will help fund the citys Housing Rehabilitation Loan Program, which helps low-income mobile home owners rehabilitate their homes.

    The council also unanimously decided the city would dole out nearly $205,000 to five groups for public service programs and projects.

    The bulk of the funding for public services, $100,000, will be earmarked for the East County Transitional Living Centers Emergency Shelter Program, which provides housing for homeless individuals. The program proposes to serve 280 persons with emergency shelter beds and shelter for up to 28 days, as well as provide food and case management. ECTLCs program has received operational support from the city since 2005.

    The council said nearly $50,000 should go toward community policing as part of El Cajons Crime Free Multi-Housing program that works to increase safety in neighborhoods.

    An additional $25,000 will go to Meals on Wheels, which has received support from the city since 1992. The groups More than a Meal program will provide meals to 126 low-income, home-bound seniors in El Cajon.

    ElderHelp of San Diego has been chosen to receive $15,000 for its Care Coordination Program, to help provide case management, referrals and transportation for about 50 El Cajon seniors.

    The Interfaith Shelter Network will be granted $10,000 for its Rotational Shelter Program that will provide emergency shelter for up to 40 homeless individuals at East County churches on a rotational basis during the winter months. Each church in the program will provide beds, food and shower facilities.

    City Councilman Steve Goble asked the city to help fund a new group that had asked the city for financial help this year - Voices For Children, which works out of the East County Courthouse. A staff report said funds would primarily support costs such as salary expenses for the group. Voices For Children requested nearly $80,000 in block grant funds in anticipation of about 200 El Cajon children spending time in foster care this year.

    But because Voices For Childrens scope focuses on supporting a small group within the city - children in the foster care system - city staff did not recommend it be funded. A staff report shared with the City Council noted that past practice has been to maximize the available funds for basic services that benefit all parts of the City.

    When the City Council said it might be able to provide $5,000 for the group, Christina Piranio, the groups director of development operations, grants and stewardship, said it might not be worth the staff time it would take to meet the requirements related to accepting funds. She did note that it costs the group about $2,000 to provide 18 months of foster care for one child.

    The City Council said it might consider funding the group at a later date.

    More here:
    Annual block grants in El Cajon will go to several groups - The San Diego Union-Tribune

    Mobile food bank answer to area food insecurity | – - March 5, 2020 by admin

    Great Barrington The first Tuesday of the month arrived proffering blue skies and balmy temperatures for the long line of South County residents queuing up in the parking lot at Community Health Programs. The line, which began forming around 10:45 a.m., was bustling with energy and conversation as shoppers awaited the Mobile Food Bank of Western Massachusetts monthly food distribution. In a region where 12 percent of the population, or close to 16,000 people. find themselves without reliable access to a sufficient quantity of affordable, nutritious food, the mobile is working to break down barriers and eradicate the stigma often associated with food insecurity: there are no eligibility requirements, and anyone in need of fresh food can attend.

    Betsy Strickler. Photo courtesy Community Health Programs

    We truly have no idea who is in line here, said Betsy Strickler, chief communications officer for CHP, as we chatted in the parking lot during Tuesdays hour-long food distribution. It feels super busy, she said, noting lots of new faces in the crowd. The program began as a pilot in 2014 when there were only six mobiles throughout western Massachusetts. We were one of them, said Mary Feuer, assistant director of South County WIC. In the past six years, the program has grown. The first time [the mobile came to Great Barrington], we had about 100 families; now, we are up over 200 families that come through each month, Feuer reported. The mobile food bank delivers a truck full of fresh and nonperishable groceries from the warehouse directly to community sites throughout the region; the program reaches underserved populations throughout western Massachusetts that dont have access to healthy foods, including families, seniors and children.

    Some of the offerings available from the Mobile Food Bank of Western Massachusetts. Photo: Hannah Van Sickle

    Volunteers are integral to the process, as many hands make light work. Its always different, but a nice combination of fresh, frozen and packaged food is available each month, said Sonya Seward of Sheffield. As a regular volunteer, Seward has seen offerings run the gamut from organic asparagus to yogurt in addition to a lot of the basics. As I made my way through the line, Bill Nappo of Housatonic helped me fill my cardboard box; he has been a volunteer since the beginning and Tuesday morning, he was handing out frozen turkey breasts. There were onions (2 pounds); potatoes (5 pounds); carrots (5 pounds); a fresh head of cabbage; beets (two handfuls); apples (12);and a bunch of bananas. Thanks to a donation from Big Y, there was stuffing and cranberry sauce as well as a special treat: pumpkin spice creamer. Its all fresh,nutritious food none is expired or old, Feuer explained.

    Julia Jarvis, left, and Mary Feuer of Berkshire South WIC, part of Community Health Programs Family Services. Photo: Hannah Van Sickle

    Equity is the order of the day: Each shopper receives the same amount of food, whether single or feeding a family of five. We want to take the stigma out of [food insecurity] said Feuer, so we keep it as honest and simple as possible. The only information gleaned at the distribution site is how many individuals are in the family, age ranges of family members and whether or not the shopper has been before. Food security is part of the health of the entire family, Feuer explained, pointing to the excellent fit among a trio of organizations. CHP Family Services coordinates the South Berkshire regions WIC nutrition program, which provides pregnant and breastfeeding women and their young children with healthy diet education, access to nutritious food and nutrition counseling. If there are any drawbacks to the mobile, they are few. I wish [food distribution] were later in the day, one shopper remarked. Or that the days alternated, said another who, along with a friend, commutes from Pittsfield to Great Barrington for work. It happens, very infrequently, that we can cut out of work and come, the woman, who wished to remain anonymous, said.

    A pallet of onions from the Mobile Food Bank of Western Massachusetts. Photo: Hannah Van Sickle

    Maddie Elling of Housatonic has contemplated this challenge; with a young child at home, she receives WIC benefits and gets text message alerts as to the community programs offered by CHP Family Services. It makes me think of all those who cant make it here, she said on Tuesday, citing inflexible work schedules and lack of transportation as the biggest obstacles. As we chatted, I carried my box of groceries to her car. I have employees who would benefit, she said, understanding the wealth of opportunities that exist for those who know about them. Elling told me about a second monthly food distribution at CHP/WIC in Great Barrington on the third Wednesday of each month organized by Berkshire Bounty as part of the nonprofits efforts to reach more people and supplement the Food Bank of Western Massachusetts.

    The mobile rolls into town rain or shine, and it has yet to run out of food. They kind of know our numbers, and they always pack the truck for 10 percent over, Feuer said. CHP also coordinates the Mobile Food Bank in Dalton on the fourth Wednesday of the month, also from 11 a.m. to noon. For many, attendance is a bit of a social experience, equally integral in building healthy communities. We welcome people from all walks of life, said Strickler, and we have learned its not our business to ask why they are here.

    Community Health Programs, based in Great Barrington, Mass., is a federally qualified health center practice network serving more than 30,000 Berkshire County region residents with primary health care for adults and children, womens health care, dental care, physical therapy, vision care and nutrition services. CHP Family Services reaches parents and children in Southern Berkshire County with parent-child networking, parenting education, WIC services and nutrition classes. CHP accepts all patients, regardless of ability to pay, and accepts all forms of public and private health insurance.

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