HOA says no to donated home for fire victims

Article and Video Courtesy of Channel 2 -- Naples

Published April 15, 2013

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EAST NAPLES, FL - East Naples residents Martha and Bob Carpenter are running out of time. 

"I don't know what to say about being homeless. I've never been homeless. I've never been homeless," Martha said.

The couple found themselves in this tough spot two weeks ago when a fire destroyed their mobile home in the Riviera Colony Community. Gracious viewers who saw the story offered to donate their used mobile home, but there's a roadblock with the homeowner association. 

There are a number of single-wides in this community. The problem is the bylaws say anything new coming in must be at least 24-feet wide and never lived in.

Neighbors appeared divided on the issue Friday. 


"I understand it is an unfortunate circumstance, but nevertheless the rules need to be followed," said next door neighbor Endre Fournier. 
Judy Springman said she was worried an exception would open the flood gates. 


"We have other empty lots, and I'm afraid that someone else is going to say ‘You did it for them, you can do it for us,'" Springman said.

Neighbor Carole Dolan supported the Carpenters. 

"They're good people and they're going through a hardship, and I think they should all stand together."

She claimed the HOA is out of touch with most of its residents. 

"All they want is big homes in here. They want it to be like you're living in the estates and it's never 

going to be that, nothing but a small mobile home park for seniors," Dolan said.

None of the HOA members we reached out to Friday wanted to talk on camera. In the meantime, the Carpenters said they won't give up. 

"We will just do it one day at a time, one hour at a time, and one minute at a time because that's all we have," Martha said. 

The couple is currently renting a mobile home in the same community, but they said they may be forced to move out of that rental by the end of the month.