Mountaire Farms is evicting more than 100 low-income adults and children from their homes at Johnson’s Mobile Home Park in Siler City to “make room” for their large poultry processing plant.
On March 5th, the residents held a press conference at Siler City Town Hall followed by a meeting with the Town Commissioners. The majority are Hispanic, this is their story.
Johnson’s is home to over 50 children and 60 adults; 24 of the children are enrolled in our local schools. The residents own their mobile homes and have invested an average of $10,000 per family in the purchase and repairs. Most were built in the 1970’s and cannot be moved to a new location. Now, the families must abandon their homes and find a place to live in the next few months.
Siler City and Chatham County signed agreements with Mountaire worth millions of dollars in taxpayer-funded incentives, property tax discounts and infrastructure support. These families have lived in Siler City and at Johnson’s for many years and are tax-payers too. Many of whom will be Mountaire’s future employees.
Through no fault of their own, families will go from being homeowners to facing homelessness, exacerbating and exposing the serious lack of affordable and decent housing in Siler City.
Last November, Mountaire purchased Johnson’s Mobile Home Park without offering any assistance to the residents for the loss of their homes, relocation expenses or the disruption in their lives. Instead, Mountaire sent residents an eviction notice to vacate the property by May 7th, as is required by law.
Mountaire’s Corporate Responsibility Pledge states that they “focus resources and efforts to help communities…including providing support…to individual and families in crisis situations”.
The families at Johnson’s Mobile Home Park are facing a crisis situation. Mountaire is causing these families extreme emotional distress and undue financial hardships. Their hardships are already reverberating throughout local government agencies, social services, non-profits, schools and health care providers.
In January, we were finally able to bring Mountaire to the table to speak with the families. At the meeting, residents shared their concerns and asked for a legitimate and just financial compensation for their losses. The company’s representative pledged to “do the right thing for these families” because Mountaire “wants to be a good neighbor for Siler City and Chatham County”.
For the past 7 weeks, we have engaged in good faith negotiations with Mountaire. We were closer to an agreement when we reached an impasse that has yet to be resolved.
The residents also asked the town and county for a list of available rental properties in Siler City. The list we received confirms the severe lack of affordable housing, which means that these families could face homelessness, overcrowding, or having to move out of the city and county where they have built their lives and contributed to its economic growth and prosperity.
We urge Mountaire to keep their promise to “do the right thing for these families”. We also urge the town and county address the serious lack of affordable and decent housing in Siler City.