200 N. Chatham Ave. Siler City, NC 27344     919-742-1448

Month: August 2018

Johnson’s Mobile Home Park is Closed

The 28 families from Johnson’s Mobile Home Park moved out by the agreed deadline and received their final check from Mountaire Farms!

Tuesday, July 31, was the last day for Johnson’s Mobile Home Park in Siler City, which was home for over 60 adults and 50 children. The majority of the residents were Hispanic.

    

Mountaire Farms evicted 28 families after purchasing the property to expand their new chicken processing plant. Johnson’s housed 28 mobile homes, 27 were owned by the residents who had invested an average of $10,000 per family in the purchase and repairs.

     

Since August 2017, The Hispanic Liaison hosted dozens of meetings with the Hispanic residents to help them articulate their needs, understand their rights, and negotiate with Mountaire Farms for compensation for their losses and relocation expenses.

   

               

In March, following public meetings with town and county commissioners, the residents secured a settlement that included 9 months of rent abatement, an extended move out date to July 31 (the original eviction date was May 7), and $8,300 in financial compensation, totaling $10,190 in benefit to each of the 28 families. 

                                   

 

We are pleased to report that all the families received their final compensation check after moving out by the July 31 deadline. Where are the families now?
–  21 found places to live in Chatham County
–  7 moved to Randolph County
–  3 moved their mobile homes to a new lot
–  7 purchased used mobile homes
–  1 purchased a home
–  17 are renting homes, apartments or mobile homes

Jorge, a father of four said, “I’m grateful to The Hispanic Liaison for helping us come together as a community. By standing united, we were able to face a powerful corporation and secure a fair compensation for our families. This was a great example for our children that we can and should stand up for our rights”.

 

 

We are honored to have stood with the residents to seek a just compensation for their losses. For over 8 months, the residents were united in this struggle, which took a lot of courage and tenacity. This agreement was only possible because of their resolve to organize and the company’s willingness to negotiate with us.

 

Thanks to financial support from Chatham County and from the community, The Liaison was able to help the families look for housing, advise on rental and purchase contracts, secure permits for moving mobile homes, organize volunteers to help residents move, coordinate the signing of the agreements, and much more. We were also responsible for disbursing the checks to each family, which were issued in three installments.

 

We have a long list of people to thank for supporting this cause:  
  • Jack Holtzman and Kate Woomer-Deeters, our excellent attorneys from the NC Justice Center
  • Elizabeth Haddix, EVH board member and intrepid attorney from the Julius Chamber Center for Civil Rights and
  • Joan Underwood, owner of the Courtyard Cafe and Peppercorn in Siler City for her amazing generosity in allowing us to meet with the families in her beautiful space across from our office.
  • Chatham County Commissioners and Manager for their support, intervention and for allocating funds to EVH that allowed us  to help the families till the end.
  • The generous donors who contributed to EVH and to the families. You were crucial to our efforts!
  • The allies and supporters who attended the public meetings, helped with research, gave us advice, thank you! 
  • Our amazing volunteers ~ teens from our Orgullo Latinx Pride youth group who took care of the children at the meetings; moving day volunteers who came from near and far to help several residents settle into their new homes; our dedicated board members Hannia Benitez, Carlos Sanchez and Elea Ocampo for helping many times over.  We couldn’t have done this without y’all!
  • Emilio Vicente, our past staff member who was a essential in helping us organize and coordinate this effort.
  • Rosa Arroyo, our newest staff member who jumped into her new role as program assistant for the Johnson’s cause and has done a wonderful job!
  • The media for sharing the stories of the families and of this struggle
  • Mark Reif, Community Relations Manager for Mountaire Farms, who was kind and respectful throughout the negotiation process.
  • Most of all, the brave families from Johnson’s for their vote of confidence and  their generosity in donating funds and volunteer work The Liaison. We’re very grateful and proud of you!
Johnson’s Farewell Party @ Peppercorn ~ 6/23/18

                                                    

                                                    

                                                       

Background:

In November 2017, Mountaire Farms purchased Johnson’s Mobile Home Park, which is adjacent to their new plant. Mountaire mailed an eviction notice to the residents giving them until May 7, 2018 to move out without offering any compensation for the residents’ losses. Johnson’s housed 28 mobile homes, 27 residents owned their homes and invested an average of $10,000 per family in the purchase and repairs. The eviction placed these low-income families in a dire situation.

After months of negotiations with Mountaire, press conferences and presentations to Siler City and Chatham County commissioners, the residents reached a settlement worth $10,190 per family.

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