Grand Canyon University’s Expansion Forces Mobile Home Residents Out

By on May 22, 2023 0 127Views

As Grand Canyon University continues to expand, families in the area surrounding the university are experiencing major life changes.

Dozens of families have been given an eviction date of May 28 to leave their Phoenix mobile home park, which is nearby Grand Canyon University. Two additional mobile home communities are also set to be cleared this spring for new developments in a city.

GCU acquired the property 6 ½ years ago, announcing at that time that it would be used for future campus expansion. The University did not raise the rent during that entire time and waited as long as it could to expand the campus into that location. Now, with the need to expand, the University has raised funds to provide multiple layers of assistance to tenants at Periwinkle.

GCU has met with Periwinkle tenants on several occasions to understand their concerns and is offering the following:

  • Deadline extended: To minimize disruption to the education of children at Periwinkle, the deadline to vacate has been extended from the required 180 days’ notice to May 28, 2023, so kids can finish the school year and GCU can break ground in June.
  • Free tutoring: To further ensure those children excel in school during the 2022-2023 academic year, they will have access to free tutoring from GCU’s best and brightest students at our nearby Learning Lounge. The University will also provide ESL teaching or assistance through May 28, 2023, for any tenants who seek those services.
  • Early departure compensation: For tenants who vacate Periwinkle prior to the May 28, 2023 deadline, either by relocating their mobile home or by abandoning it, the tenant who holds title to the mobile home will be paid $400 for each month they vacate prior to the May 2023 deadline (one payment per mobile home after relocation). For example, a tenant who holds title to a mobile home vacated or relocated by Nov. 30, 2022, would receive $400 for each of the months of December to May for a total of $2,400 (one payment per mobile home after relocation).
  • Free rent: For tenants who do not vacate the park before January 1, 2023, GCU will offer free rent for each mobile home from January 1, 2023, until the park closes on May 28, 2023. The offer in the above bullet point still applies (one payment per mobile home after relocation). For example, the tenant who holds title to a mobile home vacated or relocated by March 31, 2023, would not only not pay rent from January – March but would also receive $400 for each of the months of April and May for a total of $800 (one payment per mobile home after relocation).
  • $5,000 in incidentals: GCU will provide an additional $5,000 to each tenant who holds title to a mobile home for incidentals to help with their relocation (one payment per mobile home after relocation).
  • $5,000 in household goods: Each family will also be provided $5,000 worth of household goods of their choosing from GCU’s CityServe warehouse, which GCU will deliver to the family upon relocating to their new home.
  • State assistance in mobile home relocation: For tenants who choose to relocate their existing mobile home, the state will pay a mobile home relocating company up to $7,500 for a single-wide mobile home and $12,500 for a double-wide mobile home to move the mobile home, subject to state application requirements. The state may also provide an additional $1,500 in funds to rehabilitate a mobile home, subject to tenant income level and state application requirements.
  • Abandonment assistance from state: For tenants who choose to abandon their mobile home, the state provides them either $1,875 for a single-wide or $3,125 for a double-wide from the Mobile Home Relocation Fund, subject to state application requirements.
  • Mobile home repairs through GCU and Habitat: Tenants can also have repairs made to their existing mobile homes through dollars GCU has donated to Habitat for Humanity, subject to Habitat for Humanity’s ability to make any given repair to a mobile home.
  • Potential mobile home sale: If a tenant who holds title to the mobile home chooses to abandon their mobile home, GCU will try to sell the mobile home. If a sale occurs, GCU will give the former tenant the proceeds of the sale. However, please note that GCU cannot guarantee the sale of any abandoned mobile home.In addition to the above financial assistance, GCU has partnered with Trellis, a nonprofit organization that has been assisting with housing issues for over 45 years, to provide support to the tenants. Trellis will assign a personal housing counselor for each family to help navigate this process and make the transition as seamless as possible. Phoenix has not built any new mobile home parks in more than 30 years, which makes major moves for these tenants challenging.

    GCU feels their expansion has benefitted the surrounding community in a myriad of ways during the past decade through its five-point plan — including home renovations, job creation, neighborhood safety initiatives, free tutoring and the awarding of 643 full-tuition scholarships thus far to students in this neighborhood. The University wants to ensure the needs of Periwinkle residents are being met in this latest expansion.