February 8, 2020 - This letter concerns myself and others who lost their homes in the Detwiler Fire and were given trailers by Human Services. We all received a letter from the Planning Department a few months ago stating that we could no longer live in them after July 2020.
I don’t know everyone who has one of these trailers; however, the ones I do know are in the same situation as me. We own our property but lost most if not all of our material possessions in the fire. We were unable to insure our homes due to the high cost of insurance. We are senior citizens living on Social Security and do not have the means to rebuild. Although our first choice would be to continue to live in the homes we lived in for most of our adult lives, that is, obviously, not an option. These trailers are our homes now. If we lose them, we will join the other members of Mariposa’s homeless population. I am 72. I did not plan to live out the rest of my life on the streets.
The paradox is that, while one County entity helped us rise up from the ashes, if you will, another is pushing us back down. The Planning Department says our homes are temporary. Frankly, after paying property taxes for 46 years, it doesn’t feel so temporary. They say that, according to State mandate, no one is allowed to live in a trailer, recreational vehicle, motor home, etc., on private property in Mariposa County. However, when I read the law, it appears that this is a decision left to individual counties to make. Mariposa County evidently made that decision by passing an ordinance in 2006. Obviously, disaster victims were not taken into consideration when it was drafted.
It is unconscionable that the Planning Department would target fire victims simply because they now show up on their radar. I have been to Human Services about our dilemma: they have no plan. I have been to the Planning Department: it’s business as usual. I have gone to my Supervisor: it was like talking to a wall. These people have homes to go to and will continue to have them after July, unlike myself and the others like me.
If you are a fire victim who received one of these letters, please come forward. If you are a person with a conscience who feels morally outraged by our predicament, please come forward. We need your help. We will be holding a meeting in the Library community room on Saturday, February 29 at 1:00 P.M. to discuss going before the Board of Supervisors to address this issue. I hope to see you there.
Thank YouDennis Bright
Mariposa Resident for 50 Years