For Steven Tozer and the other remaining residents of the Delta Mobile Home Park, time is running out to relocate, but community services in the area may be able to relieve some of the burden.
The residents of the park were given lease termination notices in May of 2018, stating that they needed to be off the property by Oct. 1. Fred Kruger, the property owner and a member of the Penticton Indian Band, is within his legal right to terminate the leases.
“Disappointment was the first thought that came to my mind,” said Tozer. “Oh no, it happened.”
Tozer has lived in the park for the last four years and says he’s not upset with Kruger about the lease termination but he is worried about where he and his neighbours will end up.
“A lot of the people here have been absolutely beside themselves … it’s a lot of stress when you have to move at (older) ages,” said Tozer.
According to Tozer, only one mobile unit has sold within the park since May. Many mobile home parks will not accept older trailers or don’t have vacancies — which leaves many Delta residents out of options.
“I think that everybody that is in here right now is nearly at that point of ‘what’s the point?’ because there isn’t anything out there,” said Tozer. “Everybody’s been looking.”
Linda Sankey, executive director of the South Okanagan Similkameen Brain Injury Society (SOSBIS), says it’s very likely statistically that the residents of the park are under increased stress, which may affect their overall mental health.
“Statistically, moving is one of the most stressful things that a person can have happen in their life. So just looking at it from that perspective across the board, I think there’s a likelihood that people are in distress because of the tight housing market and the equity they invested in their mobile homes,” she said.
SOSBIS and other organizations have made a few visits to the mobile home park in the last few weeks in order to provide information to the residents about services in the area. These services include financial, grief support, counselling, housing and mental health, to name a few.
“There’s no one in our circle of care support that will be able to help them with moving their trailer or relocating their belongings,” said Sankey. “What we can offer is some guidance as to what’s available to them in the community.”
Sankey said they received confirmation from Kruger that the society, or other services, could set up a booth within the mobile home park to better provide information to residents. This will be done upon request of the current residents.
A challenge facing the SOSBIS and other organizations is that some residents in the park may need help but won’t ask for it.
“That’s the way this goes. Some of the people there are not the type that would reach out for community support. I think they are very self-sufficient and capable and resilient on their own on a normal basis,” said Sankey. “For a lot of people, it’s difficult to reach out for help, especially for the first time.”
Sankey stated it was “horribly disappointing” that there are no legislative recourses that can be taken at this time by the residents. Especially since the provincial government announced plans in April, before the lease termination notice was given, to enhance protections for tenants in mobile home parks.
Tozer is remaining optimistic that he’ll find somewhere to move his mobile home. But if the worst comes and he hasn’t found somewhere by the deadline, he may be out of luck.
“I’m taking it apart, and I have a tin can coming so I’m putting all the wood that I can take down, my furniture, and my car in that since it can be stored somewhere,” said Tozer. “The only thing that will be left then will be my building.”
“The only thing I can do then is negotiate with the owner of the property and basically take my building apart, walls off and the roof off and everything, and store it for the winter.”
Any residents within the Delta Mobile Home Park are welcome to contact the SOSBIS if they would like more information about the services available in the area or want a referral.
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Jordyn Thomson | Reporter
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