Reprieve for Rockin' H Residents? 

September, 25 2020

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Reprieve for Rockin' H Residents?

On September 16, 2020, The Intermountain Fair Housing Council (IFHC), a Boise-based housing advocacy nonprofit, issued this letter to Teton Valley Resort alleging that displacement of residents of the Rockin' H Mobile Home Community is likely in violation of the Idaho Manufactured Homes Residency Act. 

IFHA also alleges that the City of Victor violated the US Fair Housing Act and the rezone that caused the displacement of residents is null and void. 

The Backstory

You may recall the tragic story of longtime Victor residents being displaced at a moment’s notice by Teton Valley Resort. A community coalition formed in response, with VARD, the Community Resource Center (CRC), the Housing Authority, and community members racing against the clock to help residents relocate. A locally grown GoFundMe campaign started by a Victor resident raised nearly $6500. The City of Victor contributed $2200 to CRC programming in order to help residents. The CRC was also able to leverage funds from other sources, resulting in a modest relocation assistance fund for the residents. Though funds raised by the community were a drop in the bucket in terms of actual relocation costs, it was at least something. 

On September 8, 2020, the eviction period came and went, and many of us were left to chalk this experience up as social learning, and a resolve to never let this happen again. But, then…

Legal Protections for Rockin H Residents

A City of Victor resident reached out to IFHA in June to determine if the landlord’s eviction and the City of Victor’s rezone approval were in conformance with the law. Like most nonprofits - especially those in social services - they lacked the capacity to respond right away. At the same time, the Community Resource Center contacted VARD looking for legal assistance for the residents. VARD staff attorney Anna Trentadue worked with CRC staff to collect depositions from the trailer park residents, and do legal research on the case. Before long, Trentadue realized this could be a huge housing rights case. She made contact with Brian Stephens, Staff Attorney for IHFA. Soon, VARD, IFHC, and CRC pooled their resources and Mr. Stephens  notified the group that  IFHC was to take the case. Because the IFHC is located in Boise, the VARD board has authorized its staff to act as the on-the-ground legal liaison for the case. 

Stephens found multiple violations of state and federal law on both the part of the landlord and the City of Victor. If IHFA prevails, residents may be entitled to significant monetary damages paid by the landlord, and the City of Victor may have to reprocess the RV Park rezone. In response to the rezone approved by the City on October 9th, 2019, VARD questioned the validity of the City’s findings and asked City Council to require relocation assistance. If the rezone must be reprocessed, we hope that the new council will be more receptive to the needs of all - not just developers.

FALL 2020 NEWSLETTER

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Niki Richards, Executive Director
(208) 354-1707
285 East Little Avenue
PO Box 1164
Driggs, ID 83422

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