Wednesday, January 22nd, 2014
By Kathy Thompson
Agency to assess mobile home residents
  CELINA - The Mercer County Council on Aging hopes to soon begin assessing the needs of Mercelina Mobile Court residents who must leave their properties before the end of the year.
The approximately 50 home-owners are being forced to move because the mobile home court was put up for sale. Celina city council members are now considering legislation allowing the purchase of the land to expand city parks.
Primary residents last week were sent letters from the agency asking them to make appointments for assessments to determine their needs for moving or relocating, according to agency director Karen Howick. Letters were not sent to residents who do not consider the park their primary residence, she added.
"The residents need to make appointments with our agencies as soon as possible," Howick said. "We want to help them, but first need to know exactly who is the most needy."
Residents can call the council on aging at 419-586-1644, Sources Community Network Services at 419-584-1550 or OUR Home Family Resources at 419-586-4663. All three agencies are handling assessments.
If a resident is unable to visit an agency's office, assessments can be conducted in the home, she said.
"We want to make this as easy on them as possible," she said. "But we need to know all the information before we can start making decisions."
The letter to residents also offers help with deposits for new housing or units, the physical move, household packing, lists of available housing and mobile home movers and scrappers.
Howick cautions the mobile home residents about signing contracts to move or scrap their home.
"We can help with that, too," she said. "We've heard some rumors that residents are being pressured by companies to sign contracts quickly and we don't want them getting ripped off. We can help them check the businesses out with the Better Business Bureau or other agencies."
Howick said there are about 24 apartments or landlords in the area and several mobile home parks available to take residents, but she cautioned the number changes daily.
Fundraisers are planned for the coming year, Howick said, and she is hoping that churches and other organizations step up to assist.
"We do have a group of church ladies that have offered to come in and assist with packing," she said. "They just called out of the blue and offered. We're hoping for more of that type of community action."
A relocation fund is set up at the Mercer County Civic Foundation and currently totals about $2,800. Glen Hux, executive director of the foundation, said donations trickle in and he is hoping the amount grows to at least $12,000.
"There are those out there who are going to need it," he said.
Anyone wishing to donate to the relocation fund can contact Hux at 419-586-9950.
Late last year residents were given two options after receiving notices from the owners and stockholders of the park, Jerry and Verdice Brandts and Mercelina Mobile Court Company. They can sign a year lease or a month-to-month lease with lot rent at $180. If a year lease is signed, they have until Dec. 31 to move; a month-to-month lease requires a move by Sept. 30.
The purchase agreement before city council is $2.9 million for the mobile home park property and adjacent land that formerly housed Versa Park. If approved, the Bryson Trust Fund would pay 90 percent and the city would pay $300,000 from its general fund.
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