- Some of the Crandon Mobile Home Park residents have lived there for nearly 20 years. For young families and the elderly alike the land and the trailers are home, but in 2 months they'll all be forced to leave.
"They're all scared, they don't know what to do. I mean, where do we go?” says Crandon Mobile Home resident Robert Johnson, “These trailers ain't much but, that's all we have."
In a small town, with limited job prospects, a mobile home was an affordable place to live.
"I mean this has been my home, and I just… Don't know...I know I couldn't afford an apartment, they're $400 or $500 a month," said Arlene Johnson, a 75-year-old retiree.
For years tenants here have struggled to make their rent, while the park’s owners have fought to keep the place afloat. They’d been tearing down and clearing out abandoned trailers, hoping for new tenants.
"It's not that they [the owners] weren't trying, let's put it that way,” said Roger Bricko, owner of Jiffy Mobile Home Removal and Disposal Service, “Economically it's just not feasible to run [the park] any more. I feel bad for the tenants, some of these mobile homes are too old to move any place else, but what are you going to do?"
The parks owners say they've run the park for years at a loss. Many years of missing rent payments and extensive costs for removing or repairing abandoned trailers have taken their toll. But changes in government funding for low-income home loans, have made it practically impossible.
“It's so heartbreaking to see them have to move but we don't know what to do, “ said Donna Karcz, daughter of Don Karcz, one of the parks aging owners, “There's so much more involved in this picture that people do not realize until they're looking for a home. Go to a bank and try to get a loan for a mobile home. You can't anymore. The government used to give loans, now they don't do that. So how can a mobile home park continue to function when you can't bring in more houses to sustain it?”
With an eviction deadline looming, no one seems to have the answer. And the question remains, where will the tenants go?
“I've got no place to go,” says Johnson, “I would have no idea.”