KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Disabled residents of Disabled Heart Village Mobile Homes say their lives are being ruined to make way for a new Jackson County Jail.
More than 100 households are relocated from the trailer park after Jackson County purchased the land.
Jackson County officials said the vast majority of residents moved out without major issues. So far, 94 tenants out of 106 have already been relocated, and eight more of these tenants are expected to leave within the week.
The others face evictions.
But there is a new departure deadline for remaining renters at Heart Village Mobile Home Park. Jackson County said that date is now May 1.
That deadline has been extended several times before, with county officials saying the remaining tenant complaints were largely self-inflicted.
KC Tenants says the county has compensated some and supported some in their efforts to find new places to live. But the group said others have not received full compensation.
Urban Schaefer lives on Social Security and a VA pension. At Monday’s Jackson County Legislature meeting, he said it was difficult to navigate his relocation process from Heart Village because of his disability.
“I was shot three times in Vietnam, so my mobility is very limited,” Schaefer said.
The veteran said the county damaged his trailer during the move and has yet to build the wheelchair ramp he was promised.
“They were supposed to have got me a handicap ramp, and that was three months ago. My scooter is outside. This ramp was not built,” Schaefer said.
His complaints about his new residence match his remaining delicate issues at Heart Village where he said his sons remained, hunkered down in the trailer he lived in. This led to the eviction notice he received because his name was on the lease.
“They need to stop and cease all evictions against me and all other residents there,” Schaefer said. “If they can’t move the residents, why ask them for an eviction and ruin their lives? »
But county officials said this situation was not typical.
“As long as people work in good faith, we won’t evict,” Jackson County Administrator Troy Schulte said. “But once we have an agreement and they violate the agreement, we will pursue all of our legal remedies.”
Schulte said the county intentionally took a “non-cookie cutter” approach to dealing with relocation. But he said the remaining problems stem from tenants not communicating or breaking agreements with the county for which they had already received money.
“So the county could have said, ‘You have 30 days and you’re out. They were just monthly leases,” Schulte said.
But residents want all formal eviction proceedings halted against those who lived or still live in the mobile home park. They also want full and appropriate compensation for all who are relocated, with resident approval for every relocation plan.
“I think the county has taken the noble step of saying that we are going to provide for the relocation. We provided 21 of those residents were able to use county dollars to help them buy a home. We think it’s a good story,” Schulte said.
And finally, those present at Monday’s county legislature meeting called for an audit of all relocation funds spent and relocation contracts awarded by Jackson County.
County lawmakers did not comment after speaking at the legislative meeting.
Construction of the new Jackson County Detention Center will be a three-year process, with the contractor beginning work in June. Its completion is scheduled for 2024.
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