Nejla Calvo

  • Hosted by Legal Services of Greater Miami, Inc.
  • Sponsored by Equal Justice Works Innovate Fund
  • Service location Miami, Florida
  • Law school University of Miami School of Law
  • Issue area Housing - Affordable Housing/Microfinance
  • Fellowship class year 2015
  • Program Design Your Own Fellowship

The Project

Nejla provided legal advocacy, outreach and education to mobile home park residents. She assisted in the formation of homeowners associations to protect residents’ rights and to improve park conditions throughout Miami-Dade County.

Mobile home parks are a key source of affordable unsubsidized housing in Miami, where there are about 61 parks and an estimated 50,000 people living in mobile homes. Generally, mobile home park residents own their trailers and rent the land from the park owner. The dynamic of owning a home, but not the land, gives rise to an unequal power dynamic. Residents cannot afford to move elsewhere, they do not want to leave their communities, and their fragile homes could be destroyed by a move. Park owners often exploit their position of power by improperly increasing lot rent, failing to provide adequate park maintenance, engaging in selective code enforcement, and initiating retaliatory evictions. Mobile home park residents have little legal recourse as individuals, but Fla. Stat. Ch. 723 allows residents to form homeowners associations and engage in collective representation to protect residents’ rights. This project will utilize existing legal protections by empowering residents to form homeowners associations and fight for their rights to affordable, safe, sanitary, and habitable housing.

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