Tensions Boil Over At O'Riley's Assistance Meeting

By: Brian Johnson Email
By: Brian Johnson Email

Frustrated doesn't come close to describing the amount of despair and anger some residents being forced out of their homes are feeling.

"They tell me to talk to family, I don't have the family that can put me places," said Codey Erskine, as he began to choke up with emotion.

Erskine is being forced to move from lot 120 of the Life O'Riley Mobile home park. He's 25 years-old.

He and his girlfriend have a nine month-old daughter. He said his family is not getting the same help as others because he doesn't use a bank account, and is paid in cash for plowing snow.

"If I lived in a nice place, and I had the means to do such things, then of course by all means I would [have a financial record]. The fact is I don't and a lot of my neighbors, we just don't ." said Erskine.

His is one of more than 50 families forced to relocate because the of the sewage system failure. While sewage is clearly a problem for some--he questions whether all of the families should be forced to leave.

"We're supposed to have roaches, I don't have bed bugs. I don't have any of these issues, my trailer is completely livable," he said.

What's worse, many residents said the landlord or manager came around collecting rent-- knowing the next day the county would shut the park down.

"How can you do that kind of thing knowing what's coming down the pipe and look yourself in the mirror. It's inhumane," said Joan Jackson Johnson, the Director of Human Relations and Community Services for the City of Lansing.

Jackson-Johnson said the Mobile Home Park has had warning for about two years telling the park it needed to fix the sewage system.

"They feel that they've been abused, used, and misused because the system--namely the health department they think withheld information that should have been shared with them," said Jackson-Johnson.

Wednesday tensions ran high-- the police were called to cool down the situation.

"It's been terrible, complete, utter chaos. It's a mess," said Erskine who has attended four meetings. He said he still has questions-- but time is running out.

Tenants were given ten days to move out of their homes... That time runs out Friday night.

Many still don't have a place to stay. Jackson-Johnson said about 50 families are in hotels as a temporary place to stay, but it could take weeks before the sewage field is repaired, if it ever is.


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