After announced rent hikes, Habitat for Humanity helping mobile homeowners move out

NORTH LIBERTY, Iowa (KCRG) - Long-time residents in a North Liberty mobile home park will soon see their rents go up. For some, that has left them no other option but to move- even if they are physically unable.

David Schakel has lived in the Golfview Mobile Home Court for the last ten years. But in April, he received a letter that his rent was going up.

"I live off $800 [a month]," Schakel said. "[The changes] would have took my rent up to $500 a month. And there's just no way I could afford it."

That letter is now in a moving box. Schakel is moving to a nearby mobile home park. Since making that decision, he admits it has been overwhelming.

"And then it worries me because this the first time I've ever seen this trailer move. and it's been here since 1994," Schakel said.

But Schakel cannot move himself due to a number of health problems.

"I have a very bad back, heart condition, and lung problems, and kidney problems- and that's just putting a few things out on the table," Schakel said.

So the Iowa Valley Habitat for Humanity is helping Schakel pack up and prepare to relocate his home and his self.

"We're all just trying to react to this bad situation and we felt this was the least we could do to at least help a couple homeowners that were not able, physically, to get moved," said Heath Brewer, the Executive Director for the Iowa Valley Habitat for Humanity.

Schakel watches as memories and rooms were hauled away, but admitted seeing the team of volunteers assisting made it much easier.

"It makes a large difference- they're a crew from heaven," Schakel said.

But Brewer does not look at it that way- simply as a way for him and his teammates to help out.

"It's crazy to think you have to move yourself and literally your home as well," Brewer said.

At a time where a person can feel helpless, Schakel said seeing and having the crew help makes him feel "honored."

"It's just something that God sent to me at the right time, because I couldn't do it on my own," Schakel said.

The Iowa Valley Habitat of Humanity will help homeowners in need move each Friday until the end of June. Organizers say they can take up to five volunteers per day. If interested in volunteering, people can contact their volunteer coordinator at (319) 337-8949 or e-mailing leda@iowavalleyhabitat.org.