- Associated Press - Saturday, February 15, 2014

BASALT, Colo. (AP) - The nine families participating in Workers for Justice and Diversity in Basalt, a group lobbying town officials for replacement housing before their eviction from the Pan and Fork Mobile Home Park this spring, are each fighting for their own reasons.

Yet perhaps no resident better encapsulates those reasons than Juana Linares, a 47-year-old single mother with a son in sixth grade at Basalt Middle School.

Linares is a Mexican immigrant who has lived in the Pan and Fork for nine years, and has raised her son alone since her husband was deported by immigration authorities four years ago.

She has a work permit and is working toward full U.S. citizenship, which could help her qualify for a bank loan on a new home outside of the Pan and Fork.

Yet like several members of the workers for justice group, she said she lacks the credit score required to get a loan and she’s afraid to lose the money she’s invested in her trailer when she moves.

“We paid $40,000 for our trailer, and we fixed the floor and the ceiling after that,” Linares said. “I met with the town and they said they would pay me only $15,000 to move.”

Basalt is offering Pan and Fork families cash payments to leave the trailer park so that a redevelopment project can proceed - a town park and perhaps commercial development are envisioned on the site.

The town’s cash payment formula factors in each family’s time in the park and their household size, and provides money for rent and down payments for alternative housing. But it offers a maximum of $7,500 for each trailer, and only pays that much to residents who move their own trailers out of the park.

“How am I supposed to move my own trailer?” Linares asked. “I can’t do that.”

Basalt officials have been working since September to relocate residents of the Pan and Fork’s 35 trailers, and Basalt officials recently posted eviction notices on the doors of the remaining inhabited trailers requiring residents to vacate by April 1.

Linares said she isn’t yet sure where she’ll go, but she’s worried that the scarcity of affordable housing in the Basalt area could prevent her from staying there.

Basalt officials, she said, proposed one trailer near Catherine’s Store outside of Carbondale as a relocation option, but she’s been too busy working to look at it yet.

Linares works full time as a maid in Aspen, but the work slows down during the spring and fall. She said she can’t afford to pay much more for housing than the $650 a month she’s currently paying for her trailer space in the Pan and Fork, and she already relies on local churches to help make ends meet.

Every Monday, Linares said, congregants from the Christ Episcopal Church in Aspen drop her and her son a box of food to help them get through the week.

Father Will Fisher, the pastor at the affiliated St. Peter’s Episcopal Church in Basalt, said he has a small discretionary fund that could be used to help Linares relocate from the Pan and Fork.

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