Pam Bournival’s story teaches us about what it means to share a sense of community with your neighbors. Pam and her husband, Chuck, spent two winters traveling around Florida assessing manufactured housing communities in order to find the perfect place to live out their retirement. One of the main reasons they chose North Winds, an Equity Life Styles owned manufactured housing community located in Sarasota, Florida, was because of North Winds’ sense of community and the lifestyle that it provided for her and her husband in their golden years.
However, after just a couple of years, Pam and her husband started to feel the sting of Equity Life Style Properties’ (ELS) greedy business practices. ELS is the country’s largest corporate owner of manufactured housing communities. Most of these communities are marketed to senior citizens. ELS has been increasing the lot rents that families have to pay (the amount of money that people pay per month to rent the land their home resides on) at an alarming rate, and the company’s ‘highly touted’ customer service has lost what Pam called their “sense of respect’ for the homeowners that reside there.
The majority shareholder in ELS and one of America’s richest individuals is Sam Zell. He has been using the profits milked from homeowners like Pam and Chuck to support political organizations like American Crossroads. Founded by Karl Rove, American Crossroads has been supporting strategies to privatize and decimate our nation’s Social Security and Medicare programs. One needs to look no further than a Forbes magazine interview with Sam Zell where he makes it abundantly clear what his position on these programs is, when he said “the focus [of the deficit reduction talks in Congress] has to be on significant reductions and that means – you know, extending social security to 70.”
“It’s maddening to me that someone who derives a segment of their wealth from seniors who live in his communities would turn around and seek to hurt the programs that so many of us rely upon,” said Pam. “We shouldn’t accept proposals to increase the retirement age for Social Security, instead we should ask that people like Sam Zell pay their fair share to support this important program.” One of the aspects of CCC’s Retirement Security Campaign is to lift the cap on taxing wages which is currently set at $110,000/year in order to fund improvements and ensure long term solvency of the program.
Pam and other leaders who live in ELS communities across the country want you to join in the fight to protect their way of life and our nation’s retirement security system. You can get involved in the work on Retirement Security with Manufactured Housing Communities by taking to one simple step today. Please sign on a joint petition about Sam Zell and ELS that CCC and the Manufactured Home Owners Association of America (MHOAA) are circulating. Clink here to tell Sam Zell to Stop the Economic Evictions!
Check out our partners in this fight, MHOAA at http://www.mhoaa.us/