Tenants at-Risk to COVID-19 in Aftermath of a Gas Explosion
Updated: Apr 28, 2020
Residents at Lancaster Mobile Park Living in Danger and Fear
Lancaster, CA – It’s been two weeks since a single-family mobile home in Terra Nova Mobile Park in Lancaster was red-tagged due to an explosion that shook the community. When the explosion occurred the unit was occupied by three-children and an adult. This catastrophe created a ripple-effect as 300 plus residents that call Terra Nova home have been without gas. This incident is due to the criminally negligent maintenance job of park management and the park owner, including hiring unlicensed people to fix gas leaks.
This situation has created a health crisis for many small children and elderly living with chronic medical conditions and for those that are physically disabled, as they are now forced to live without heat, hot water or the ability to cook a warm meal. Residents are also experiencing symptoms of carbon monoxide inhalation, including nausea, headaches, weakness, and dizziness.
As cities and communities across the county are implementing “Safer At Home,” practicing social distancing, and pausing on in-person gatherings to stop the spread of COVID-19, the residents of Terra Nova are exposing themselves to the coronavirus on a daily basis because they are forced to gather in large groups to receive food and other necessities from local charities.
The matter is being investigated by the California Department of Housing and Community Development, but they have indicated that the Park is under the jurisdiction of the City of Lancaster. The community has urged State and local leaders to step in to help but they have stayed silent. No elected leader has responded to the residents’ urgent pleas for help to relocate them while a whole new gas system is put in place. In the meantime, the residents, who are predominantly low-income, Spanish-speaking, Latino immigrants, continue to live without gas services and under the threat of further explosions, all in the middle of the COVID19 pandemic.
Residents are asking for the City of Lancaster and Los Angeles County to take immediate action. BASTA has stepped in to provide limited temporary relief by paying for 17 rooms at a local hotel for the most vulnerable and sick residents, providing short-term relief through Friday, April 3 rd . The majority of 300 residents have not been able to leave the Park. Residents will likely be forced to return to the Park under the threat of another gas explosion because they do not have the financial means to relocate elsewhere.
The City of Lancaster and County leaders must do everything possible to prevent these families from being left behind and displaced. There are immediate steps we are asking our elected leaders to take to provide emergency services for these families that have been impacted. During these tough times people should not be forced to leave their homes, more so now than ever, a roof over their heads is needed.