SPENCER, Iowa (KCAU) — For some residents at the Spencer Trailer Court, such as Margaret George, the trailer homes are a reminder of how hard the residents have worked just to have a place to call their own.
“Everyone of us that has been here at some point in their life has been homeless,” she said. “I’m just the recent one. I lived with my family in the car in Colorado for eight months. It’s really hard and I don’t want to see these people out there.”
28 residents live at the trailer court. Thomas Carney lives there with his 90-year-old mother. She relies on an oxygen machine to breathe. When the city turned off the electricity on Monday, Carney said his mother’s health was at risk.
“She was in her house still on air,” he said. “They turned it off when she was on her breathing machine. They turned the electric off. They did offer her places to go to, some people in the city but like I said, that’s just temporary.”
Steve Bomgaars is the mayor of Spencer. He said the city investigated the property after a local utility company expressed concerns.
“Upon inspection, they found several violations,” Bomgaars said. “Electric, sewer, multiple nuisance violations as well.”
Bomgaars said residents were notified in mid-June the trailer court was unsafe and he said the city has been working with them throughout the summer to find their next home.
“Everyone has either accepted alternative housing, or they’re working with upper Des Moines, CHI, Elder Bridge, which works with senior citizens, and they are in the process of deciding whether or not to accept those services,” he said.
Bomgaars said the city outlined requirements for the property owner to meet in order for the power to be kept on. George says the landlord is working tirelessly to try to meet those requirements.
The city also sent out a statement on why they shut off the power.
“In the interest of safety, the electric power to the mobile home park at 18th Ave. West and 4th Ave. West was terminated at approximately 10:00 AM Tuesday morning, July 12. The Owner has been advised of the specific requirements which must be met in order for electric power to be restored. The City and several public service agencies continue to work with mobile home occupants to identify replacement housing.”City of Spencer