MILTON — According to Kyle Holley, United Way grants and major gifts manager, the problem residents from the Westgate Mobile Home Park are facing may be over soon.
The park’s water was shut off July 13 by judicial order after the Florida Department of Health filed a civil complaint against owner Carla J. Lear. The failure of the septic tank caused raw sewage to flow onto open ground creating a health hazard. Lear did not make repairs and lost the property’s permit to operate as a mobile home park and residents had to move.
Several residents filed an emergency motion against the water shut off proposing they pool their money and buy individual septic tanks for each trailer. First Circuit Judge David Rimmer denied the motion because the residents needed the owner’s permission to make any changes to the property. The owner did not respond.
Commissioner Salter invited Holley to give an update on the situation at the Sept. 13, regular commissioners meeting.
"Twelve families were involved when this started," Holley told commissioners. "One had the means to move on their own. That left 11 families. As of yesterday we only have two left. With existing pledges and United Way funds we are able to meet that need. They should be able to move out by Nov. 1."
The last two families own their trailers and money had to be raised to move them. Melissa Nason is one of the owners.
"I'm at the point now that we're pretty much set to go," Nason said, "just looking for a lot. Mr. Holley has really been working hard for us."
"(Nason) came in and gave us her dire needs," Salter said, "and I'm so happy Kyle Holley and United Way stepped up and helped these people with a major problem that they couldn't resolve on their own."
"It was really outstanding teamwork," Holley said.
United Way helps vulnerable populations through financial education; and health and income stability, according to Holley.
"Our office is able to work with the unusual where other organization cannot," Holley said, "and this is certainly unusual...I would say nothing makes me individually more happy than to get involved with a distress situation like that.
It's time to thank the people of Santa Rosa County for their help."