Sanitation, Safety Issues Plague Mobile Home Park - WLNS TV 6 Lansing - Jackson | Your Local News Leader

Sanitation, Safety Issues Plague Mobile Home Park

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LANSING (WLNS) – Raw sewage and human waste, drug deals, unplowed streets and "slumlord" problems are a few of the many issues some residents say plague the Life O'Riley Mobile Home Park in south Lansing.

"In one instance, [raw sewage] was there about two weeks in the summer just in a pool along the side of a house," said one resident who did not want to be identified for fear of retaliation. "It's bad. And nobody seems to be wanting to do anything about it."

Some residents said those brave enough to complain to management are ignored, leaving others to believe they don't have a voice. "A lot of the people that live there are really poor and they don't have anywhere else to live. So they're afraid to complain because then they'll get kicked out," said another person who chose to remain anonymous. "You don't really see management unless they want money."

Residents have wondered why the City of Lansing has not done more to help them, but Mayor Virg Bernero said on Friday that the city has limited control over mobile home parks, and most authority falls in state hands. "We can't do the kinds of inspections and enforce the kinds of regulation that we normally would in a neighborhood in the city," said Mayor Bernero.

Debbie Edokpolo of the Ingham County Health Department said workers there are aware of the deplorable living conditions at Life O'Riley, and that officials recently had a meeting to discuss the situation and develop a plan. No further details on that plan were released.

"The county health department and the health officer has powers that we don't have," said Bernero. "If the county health department determines that things are unsafe, we'll be there to help. We're looking to make sure that there are resources in place so we can help people find emergency housing and find alternative housing, if their homes are [deemed] unsafe," said Bernero.

While state law restricts what Lansing city officials can in terms of code compliance and enforcement, Bernero said local police can still respond to emergencies. However, he expressed serious grave concerns about the conditions residents face at Life O'Riley. "They're really in a no man's land. If there's an emergency, we're empowered to answer a 911 call, but barring that, the kinds of day-to-day, quality of life issues, they're on their own," said Bernero. "If there's an egregious situation, it has happened that health departments have just closed [mobile home parks] down, and it's unfortunate it has to get to that point. If it gets to that point, we will be there, and we will assist. We have been digging and working so that we'll be able to help those people if they're removed from their home."

Bernero says there are about 50-60 units in the Life O'Riley mobile home park.

Emerald Morrow is a reporter with WLNS-TV. Like her on Facebook, Follow her on Twitter or email her at emorrow@wlns.com.

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