These Miami-Area Trailer Park Residents Are Being Kicked Out With Nowhere To Go

Nearly 350 residents face eviction from the Little Farm Mobile Home trailer park in El Portal, FL and many of them don’t know where to go.

The trailer park was sold for $14 million to Wealthy Delight, a Coral Gables-based company, potentially leaving residents homeless.

“I am very angry. I bought this place to live and now I don’t know where I’m going. I have kids that go to school and I don’t work because I am sick, only my husband works,” Sophia Alexandre, who’s lived in the trailer park for over four years said. “I don’t know what is going to happen to us.”

The new owners gave residents until February of 2016 to move out and offered $2,000 for compensation, when the initial notice of eviction came earlier this year.

El Portal is a small community located about 15 minutes north of downtown Miami.

Now, a group of residents are fighting for their homes and have sued the property’s current and former owners, holding demonstrations and storming Village Council meetings.

The lawsuit alleges that the village of El Portal unlawfully forgave more than $8 million in liens, in exchange for assurances that the new owner would close down the mobile home park.

“Mobile homes are the last form of nonsubsidized affordable housing in Miami Dade County,” Kian White, an attorney who represented the individuals in court told RISE NEWS. “That money they offered doesn’t even get you a first month, last month security.”

The case was dismissed before going to trial but after White’s appeal, the case was put on an expedited track and will be heard on January 6.

“While everyone else gets ahead, these people lose everything,” Frederick said. “It all comes down to the settlement.”

In Florida, according to White, there’s a state law that deals with mobile home parks, which prohibits government action to close or relocate residents of a park without alternative housing.

“The park’s owner has a right to sell the land but they’ve got to do it right,” White said. “The village just didn’t do that.”

In a Miami Herald article, Alejandro E. Jordan, general counsel and real estate advisor to Wealthy Delight, refused to comment on the matter.

“As a matter of firm’s policy, unfortunately we cannot comment on ongoing litigation,” he told the Herald.

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A construction crew works on taking down a mobile home in the Little Farm Trailer park in El Portal, FL. Photo Credit: Nicole Montero/ RISE NEWS

Kian Frederick, an organizer working with South Florida Voices for Working Families, a nonprofit social justice organization, said that everyone is making money out of this deal, except for the residents.

“While everyone else gets ahead, these people lose everything,” Frederick said. “It all comes down to the settlement.”

But the settlement doesn’t say anything about the welfare of the residents.

“The village of El Portal just throws them out, doesn’t care and claim they do and we can’t do anything,” Frederick said. “They can do something. They can do zoning. They can zone this place for affordable housing and they can help us negotiate with the owners to get these folks their money.”

Astrude Auguste a 17 year old resident of the Little Farm, said the letter telling them to move came out of nowhere and that her family was not expecting it.

“It’s not like we have money to go somewhere else,” she said. “What are we supposed to do? Where are we supposed to go? The problem is not moving. The problem is how we’re going to move. With what? Where’s our money?”

Auguste said that she understands having to move, but she won’t like moving in the middle of the school year.

“I won’t like it, but I guess that’s just what we’re going to have to do,” Auguste said. “I’m really just worried about where we’re going to go. The fact is that we have nowhere to go if they kick us out. We’re losing everything here.”

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Life goes on as much as it possibly can in the soon to be leveled Little Farm Trailer park in El Portal, FL. Photo Credit: Nicole Montero/ RISE NEWS

Some people are not allowed to come back to their homes to get their stuff once they’re kicked out, said Auguste.

“So we lose all out stuff and we get kicked out,” Auguste said. “We’re children and families. If it’s just you, you could’ve said ‘OK I’ll stay at a friend’s house for awhile’ but my father has two children living with him. There’s nowhere else to go. Now we’re just waiting.”

Sauveur Blanc, a four-year homeowner at the park, bought his home for $7,000, after years of saving.

“It was hard to save that kind of money,” Blanc said. “I live here legally and I always pay my rent. I feel so sad. I don’t feel well. It is too much for me and there is too much discrimination here. I can’t really tell you what could happen and, right now, I feel very scared. I believe in God and I believe he can do everything for us. That’s what I’m hoping for.”

Frederick said the lawsuit was filed on behalf of some residents because the village of El Portal did not look for an adequate place for residents to go.

“We’re hopeful that in a higher court they’ll have more sense and be able to look at the law because it’s not about keeping the park open, it’s about getting their fair share when everyone else is making money,” Frederick said.

The Village of El Portal was unavailable for comment by time of publication of this story.

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About the Author
Nicole Montero is a senior journalism student at Florida International University in Miami, Fla. She is currently the Assistant News Director of Student Media at FIU, as well as the Communications Coordinator for the Steven J. Green School of International and Public Affairs. Montero is also a freelance journalist minoring in English and getting a certificate in Film Studies.

One comment on “These Miami-Area Trailer Park Residents Are Being Kicked Out With Nowhere To Go

  1. Charles says:

    Is there a precedent set by other cases in Miami?

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