Residents of Miami-Dade Trailer Park Work to Save Homes

Hundreds of residents of a Miami-Dade trailer park are taking action to save their homes and keep the neighborhood from closing.

Many of the residents say the trailer park just off busy Biscayne Boulevard in El Portal Village has been home for decades but when it was sold earlier this year the handwriting was on the wall.

Tuesday evening, they were heading to village hall with their attorney to try to get some answers. It's part of a legal battle that started a few months ago, and looked like it was over with the Village and a new owner of the trailer park winning, but another court order has now given the residents a new lease on life, something they plan to seize on when they see the mayor and council members.

Barbara Falkinburg has called the trailer park home for over a decade. But she believes a settlement agreement between the Village and a new trailer park owner will result in her removal and the removal of the 1,000 residents their attorney says live here.

"I'm 81 and he needs a doctor, we both need doctors. They are nearby, the Pharmacy is right up the road here," she said. "I've looked for apartments in the paper since this happened and I need two bedrooms they start at like $1,013. I can't afford that."

Attorney Evian White is representing the residents.

"The village of El Portal in essence accepted money to wipe out all the the code violations for a guarantee from the new owner that they would shut down this park," White said. "At the end of the day, the city, the Village of El Portal, has not followed with its obligations under the Florida Mobile Home Act to provide and to look into other reasonable accommodations for everybody living in this park before taking actions to shut it down."

NBC 6 reached out to the new owner for comment but hasn't heard back.

The Village said the residents' legal action against it this spring was premature, that no plans or zoning applications have been submitted by the new owners to them yet and a judge dismissed the residents' claims before recently calling for another hearing in a few weeks. The Village also said they consider it unlikely that the judge will change his mind since his ruling was "eminently correct." They added they remain committed to seeing that the law is fully complied with, and to protecting the rights of the residents of the trailer park.

The residents hope to hear something Tuesday night to comfort them.

"I don't know where I am going, where I am moving," Nelly Shirley said.

The Village manager emphasized they want to and will do the right thing. He said basically until they get some concrete plans from the new developer they aren't required to go out and do this research to see where these residents might go. He said they are writing code violations and trying to keep the trailer park safe.

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