TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — Tina Ratel and her family of five currently live at Florida Sun Estates, formerly The Meadows. Ratel herself has lived their since March of 2008. She said in April they'll have to move when their lease is up.
"I don't know. The boxes are all packed, and my eight-year-old says where are we going to move," said Ratel. "I don't have an answer for her, because I don't have an answer for me."
When Florida Sun Estates bought the mobile home park, lot rent was raised from $389 a month to $895 a month. Now the only option available to stay in the park is to buy the homes they're living in.
With a son recently diagnosed with Type I Diabetes, a husband who recently lost a job and had to find new work, and a family still dealing with COVID-19, Ratel said they can't afford to move anywhere else.
"We are struggling to pay what we pay now and there is nothing affordable for us out there," said Ratel.
There are others like Ratel in need of help, with community leaders vowing to do what they can.
Last Tuesday, Commissioners Jack Porter and Jeremy Matlow stood with residents at Florida Sun Estates urging property management to return their calls to try and work with them to keep families in their homes.
"The issue that we're running into now is that we've been able to get legal representation for a lot of the residents of The Meadows, now Florida Sun Estates, but we are not hearing back from the property management in order to resolve their cases," said Porter.
Porter said they're now focused on providing financial assistance to the 20 people who will need to move when their leases are up. A donation page for the community has been setup at Tallahassee help dot com with more than 11 thousand dollar raised so far.
"Tallahassee is a generous community, I think we're a loving community, and we step up when there are those in need and that's why it is that much more disappointing to see this happening here locally, and that's why the message needs to be received loud and clear that we are not a community where this is going to be tolerated," said Porter.
If you would like to help the Florida Sun Estates residents, click here.