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Heart Mobile Village residents looking for permanent housing

Zoila Guzman
Posted at 3:51 PM, May 16, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-16 19:26:43-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo.  — Heart Mobile Village is nearly vacant, but a handful of residents still remain on-site, including Zoila Guzman.

Guzman is wheelchair bound and needs a little extra help relocating.

She told KSHB 41 News that Jackson County officials have not presented her with a reasonable offer to move.

"I've been asking if they can find me a place according to my needs for special shower, ramp, grab bars inside and all around the kitchen," Guzman said.

On paper, Guzman said she was offered $20,000, but most recently received a verbal offer of $40,000.

Due to the accessibility that she needs, Guzman said those offers are far too low.

Heart Mobile Village sits right off of Highway 40 and is the site for Jackson County's new jail.

Several residents have settled with the county and moved from the property. Another challenge for Guzman is her lack of income.

Due to her disability, she's unable to work, which makes it difficult to rent an apartment or home.

"I don't have any income, so it's a challenge for me to find a place that will take me," Guzman said.

Guzman and her neighbors were notified last year that they would need to find a new place to live. Since then, Guzman has had advocates rallying around her.

"To find a home for $20,000, to find the accessibility component, and even a rental, you know that $20,000 is going to go like that," Manny Abarca said. "And that is the problem as we look at the long-term impact of these residents."

A county spokesperson tells KSHB 41 that the Community Services League and county staff will continue to work with everyone involved to find permanent housing.

They said at this time, five residents remain at Heart Mobile Village — three are awaiting court action, one is in the process of relocating and one does not have a plan in place.

"For Zoila's situation, they've said that they will evict you, and so at that point you just created someone that had stable housing and created an environment where they will become houseless," Abarca said. "And that's the county, the county's got to figure that out, that's the county's responsibility. That's the commitment that they made when they acquired this property to the residents."

According to Guzman, she's not asking for much, only for what she already has.

"I also asked them if they would come see the way I live, that way they can do everything that I've requested, but they never want to come," Guzman said.

Jackson County is set to begin construction as early as Monday, May 23.