Monday, October 15, 2012


One month since getting notice of eviction, residents of Seminole Estates scramble to find alternate shelter while others count their losses. I continue to share their stories with the hope that anyone with legal knowledge, muscle, money and/or compassion can lend a hand to those in need of assistance greater tan the $3000 offered to those who qualify.

Sometime last week the weather shifted in South Florida.  The humidity is lower and delicious breezes are blowing. Fall is in the air. Last October, the residents of Seminole Estates were decorating their homes for Halloween. This year, few took the time because they just don't have it. They are too busy packing up their lives.

Jamie Doyle: "Fighting takes too much energy."
I meet up with Jamie Doyle as she is exercising Rambo on a little plot of grass near the entrance to the Estates. A security guard for the neighboring Seminole casino parks nearby and engages her for a few moments, giving his two cents about the situation. He describes the eviction as "being kicked to the curb." Jamie prefers not to get into it. She merely suggests that the Seminoles could have showed more compassion. She doesn't want to dwell in the negative; she's got to stay focused on figuring out her future. At this point she knows that any move will increase her living expenses by at least $200 a month.

Jamie tells Madame Michelle that she can sell the aluminum before she moves.

A box spring  now occupies Madame Michele's kitchen.
Madame Michele is also looking at a sizable rent increase. She is 76 years old and lives on social security. She was a former home care assistant and says she was often voted employee of the month. Between her heavy Haitian Creole accent and my poor French we communicated as best we can.
Madame takes a moment to give thanks.
She plans to get out of the park before the end of the month and has started turning her house upside down. Her son is not too well and she is doing most of the work herself. While she is certainly put out by the move, she holds strong to her faith. She has bad arthritis and wants to make sure she gets to her local doctors one last time before the move.

Darrell Coe is dismantling all the work he did on his home.
Darrell Coe is disassembling the carport on his 1975 mobile home. "You can never get it back right," he says hoping to get something for the scrap metal. He and his wife Carol bought their home in Seminole Estates 10 years ago for $26,000 and put roughly $12,000 into renovations. Darrell did most of the work himself.

Carol Coe: "We're hoping our house makes the trip."
Carol and Darrell will be out of the park on the 26th. Their home is being relocated 25 miles north to Highland Village in Pompano Beach and should be livable again within 6-7 weeks. They are not sure where they will stay for the duration but need to make a plan so they can continue working. Once resettled, their commute to work will be three times longer than it is now. Despite that change, the Coes are relieved that they finally found a community that would arrange to take their older model mobile.

Others are starting to take homes apart too. Unwanted furniture and piles of debris are common lawn ornament now. Via email Teri Vasterling writes, "Under cover of night and in whispers behind closed doors, folks are planning their move out of a place we once called 'home.' I'm not waving a white personal fight will continue after I make my escape."

Via email and personal visits, I am grateful to those sharing their stories with me and look forward to gathering more. Thank you.

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