Littleton, N.H. Families Evicted

(NECN: Lauren Collins, Littleton, N.H.) - This is the Littleton, New Hampshire street where Diane Thompson her two kids.

"I've lived here at Towles Trailer Park for 33 years," she says in the home she and her husband own outright.  

But the couple rents the land it sits on, and now face eviction from their lot:

"Everybody's gotta start looking for another place to go.  Unfortunately there's nowhere that we can move our homes to in Littleton."  

A retail developer bought the Towles Trailer Park several years ago and initially offered to move the homes elsewhere on the property, but later found that plan impractical and cost prohibitive.

The residents formed co-op, but couldn't afford to buy the land, and sued.  They claimed the new owners were obligated to relocate the park.  They lost earlier this year in the New Hampshire Supreme Court.

Russell Angel, who moved to the park five and a half years ago, says, "we really don't have any other options of where to live. And so we're all facing homelessness really."  

"They don't have the kind of security that everybody in a stick built home on their own lot has," explains Craig Welch, the Vice President of Housing for the New Hampshire Community Loan Fund.

The group has been working with the residents at Towles, trying to find a place to build a new park.  But Jim Mathis, who works with manufactured housing parks to convert them to resident owned properties says, "the cost was prohibitive to, again, allow their rent to be affordable moving into a new location."  

Of the 22 families who lived here five years ago, roughly half are still here.  Some moved on, some bought homes, others, with no fight left in them, simply walked away.  

"If you can't sell it, you can't move it, you gotta walk away from it," says Thompson.   

For those who remain, Angel says, "we're all upset that there are no answers and we've tried for a long time to find an answer and I don't know what the best case scenario is."

Welch says, "they could go get an apartment if they can afford it but then they really just have to walk away from their homes and leave all that value that they have built up."

A lawyer for the property owners tells NECN they have no immediate development plans and want to give these families enough time to find new places to live.

But Thompson knows in the end, "it's gonna be hard when i have to come right down to locking my door and leaving.  It's gonna be hard."  

Both the Towles residents and the New Hampshire Community Loan Fund hold out hope they'll find an affordable property in the Littleton area that the co-op to buy and start a new.

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