PHOENIX - For residents living at three mobile home parks in Phoenix, Apr. 5 looks like the end of the road in their battle over their impending evictions.
We first reported on the upcoming evictions at Weldon Court in September 2022. At the time, we reported that due to redevelopment plans, residents would be evicted if they failed to leave the area by Apr. 1, 2023. That deadline has since been extended to June.
"It's pretty sad they're making us get out of our home," said Dennis Huddleston, who has lived at Weldon Court for 31 years, in an interview on Mar. 31, 2023.
Besides Weldon Court, residents at two other mobile home parks in the city - Periwinkle and Las Casitas - are also facing evictions. The evictions come as the city has to figure out what to do with the hundreds of people who have to be removed from an area near Downtown Phoenix that is known as "The Zone."
City Council votes against eviction moratorium
During a Phoenix City Council meeting on Apr. 5, some councilmembers suggested a moratorium on evictions as a way to give those affected a few more months to find a solution.
"It would be standing with these folks. Standing with the only affordable housing that’s available or left in the city," said Councilmember Carlos Garcia. Garcia is set to be succeeded by Kesha Hodge Washington later in April, following his defeat in a municipal runoff election in March.
City staff, however, says a moratorium on evictions is illegal under state law.
"It would still be limited to a moratorium on construction and development, not a moratorium on eviction," said a member of the city's legal staff.
"I think that’s very important. These are very scary times for individuals, and it would be a political stunt to tell people that this vote will help them," said Mayor Kate Gallego.
The moratorium proposal was voted down, 5-4.
Tempers flare during city council meeting
During the meeting, emotions erupt from members of the audience when nearly half of the councilmembers voted to not hear public comments. The councilmembers asked to skip public comment after hearing seven hours of testimony.
After that request, several people began shouting at the council, demanding to be heard. Many of the more vocal people were escorted out of the building by police, while others shouted out at different times during the meeting.
"These people to have the power to help us, but they want us to shut up," said resident Elizabeth Torres. "They don’t want us to speak, to say something about how I feel."
The city is reportedly looking at offering financial help for those affected.