Phoenix City Council OKs funding, but no reprieve, for mobile home residents facing eviction
Mar 23, 2023, 11:51 AM | Updated: 11:53 am
(City of Phoenix Screenshot)
PHOENIX – The Phoenix City Council approved $2.5 million Wednesday to help mobile home park residents being forced to move but didn’t take action to stop the evictions.
It wasn’t the result the tenants at three mobile home parks, including one property owned by Grand Canyon University, were seeking.
GCU purchased the Periwinkle Mobile Home Park near 27th Avenue and Camelback Road in 2016. The school is ready to move forward with redevelopment plans and told residents they have to be out by May 28.
The private Christian college gave a 13-month eviction notice, six months longer than required by law, and has provided $500,000 in benefits to tenants, including free rent and relocation assistance.
“GCU supports the Phoenix City Council’s decision to provide further relocation funding support in addition to the funding that the university is already providing to those who reside at Periwinkle Mobile Home Park,” GCU said in a statement after Wednesday’s council meeting.
“GCU purchased Periwinkle seven years ago for future campus expansion and waited as long as it could to expand into that location.”
The City Council voted 5-4 to allocate $2.5 million to assist residents being displaced. It was among four options on the agenda, including an 18-month moratorium on development at the Periwinkle, Weldon Court and Las Casitas mobile home communities. The sites are home to about 130 families.
Laura Pastor (District 4), Betty Guardado (District 5), Yassamin Ansari (District 7) and Carlos Garcia (District 8) wanted to enact the moratorium but were outvoted.
“For GCU, I think you’ve awakened a community that’s going to be able to organize, and I think many of us are going to be there when they try to move these trailers,” said Garcia, a community activist who has two weeks left in office after losing his reelection bid.
Tenants of all ages and their supporters urged the council to put the evictions on hold during the public comments segment of Wednesday’s meeting.
A woman who lives at Periwinkle pleaded for a reprieve.
“I implore all of you to give us more time, to give us a way, or another alternative to find a home in a safe area. Don’t allow us to go through this in such a short notice,” she said through an Spanish interpreter.
“GCU has not demonstrated any empathy or sensitivity toward us.”
Consoling a single mother in tears after this vote because she will face eviction, I cannot convey how gut wrenching that was. @MayorGallego made the choice tonight to FAIL as a mayor, a leader, and an elected official, to the hundreds of families that begged for time.
— Senator Anna Hernandez (@ahernandezfor24) March 23, 2023
So many elementary-aged kids testified to Phoenix City Council begging not to be displaced from their mobile homes. This is an opportunity for @MayorGallego and all of council to save lives and shield these little ones from a lifetime of trauma.
— Rep. Analise Ortiz (@AnaliseOrtiz_AZ) March 23, 2023
I have a lot to say about the vote just now at Phoenix City Council… but I have to help parents console their crying (and soon-to-be houseless) children.
This is disgusting.
— Julie Gunnigle (@JulieGunnigle) March 23, 2023
State Sen. Anna Hernandez, Rep. Analise Ortiz and two-time Democratic county attorney nominee Julie Gunnigle were among the tenants’ supporters.
“Politics isn’t easy, and the right choice isn’t always the easiest choice,” Hernandez said. “But today you have the opportunity to make the right choice, as tough as that is.
“Do not prioritize profit over people.”