How would you feel if you were told without warning that you had one year to move out of your home without any sort of compensation money? Would you still be as angry if you were then told that your property was being taken in order to build a homelessness and drug addiction rehabilitation center? This was the dilemma that arose on Nov. 29, 2012, at a local trailer park off of Route 1. A meeting was held to alert the residents of Beechcrest Mobile Home Park that Howard County Housing, in association with the Volunteers of America organization, was claiming their land in order to build a homelessness, substance abuse, and unemployment recovery center. They were given until Nov. 19 of the next year to pack up and get out so that the county could begin construction of the multi-million dollar project. The Beechcrest residents, however, were not so keen to just abandon their homes at the drop of the hat. Many of them didn't even attend the meeting and weren't aware of the plans until January of this year or later. Enraged, the mobile home owners protested that they didn't deserve to be "kicked out like dogs," no matter how beneficial the new center would be to the community. After months of letter writing and complaints to the Howard County Housing Committee, the county agreed to reschedule the eviction of the residents, canceling the Nov. 19 deadline and setting it further back so Beechcrest residents would be able to adjust to the change more comfortably. Though the new complex won't be built quite as quickly, nor will it be on the same site anymore, it will still soon be constructed, and Beechcrest residents won't feel like they're being thrown out of their homes as much this way. It's a win-win situation for everyone.

Elizabeth Towner

Columbia