They seized vacant El Sereno homes at the start of the pandemic. Now, they face eviction orders.
There is a lot of construction in front of the small bungalow-style unit at the rear of an El Sereno mobile home park. The back of each home is now a parking lot, with a construction boom underway.
The El Sereno apartment complex is where the homeless community once called home. Now, the lot is littered with empty buildings.
“It was a great place to live,” said Barbara Smith, who has lived on the lot for 17 years. “When it was a place to live, it was fine.”
The El Sereno apartments are part of a complex that is owned and operated by City of Anaheim, with the backing of the state of California, according to Orange County property records.
But the state of California is no longer in control. The city of Anaheim now owns and rents the El Sereno apartment complex.
The state now owns the land, and the city is trying to collect about $2.1 million in taxes for the last 12 years, according to property statements reviewed by OC Weekly.
The property is located in the same El Sereno mobile home park that has housed approximately 1,000 homeless tenants during the last two years.
The city has yet to pay back the state an estimated $2.3 million in taxes it owes as of August, according to property statement records reviewed by OC Weekly.
The mobile home park is also the former site of a small homeless encampment, which has now also been cleared by city staff. The property was declared surplus by the city and has since been sold by the state to private buyers.
The mobile home parks are only about 200 square yards, according to city records, but residents of the neighborhood have called it home for more than a decade.
But all along the El Sereno complex has been subject to court proceedings, as it has been in possession of lots belonging to the city since 2012.
The court order came back in 2018, when Anaheim filed a forcible entry and detainer case against the mobile home park and