RENO, Nev. (KOLO) They gathered dozens of miles from their former homes in a downtown Reno motel lobby Thursday morning, ready or not, about to begin a new chapter in their lives.
Former residents of a now-closed mobile home park in Loyalton, they'd been bused to Reno Tuesday, set up in rooms until promised $3,000 dollar relocation checks were ready.
Retired fireman and construction worker Mike Perry and his wife say they'll stay the night in town, then start looking for a car, a home and a job.
"In the morning we're going to start looking because we couldn't do anything until we had money in our hands anyway."
The check will help. That doesn't mean this is easy.
"She loved her trailer," says Perry glancing at his wife Ramona. "It was better than a lot of them in there, but it was home."
"I just needed a place to stay," she says, "and I want to be home in my place, not anywhere else."
The Perrys and others getting checks are former residents of the Loyalton Mobile Estates, a mobile home park that reached the end of its troubled history this week.
Once a comfortable, even attractive neighborhood in this Sierra Valley town, it had deteriorated into an eyesore, abandoned by its owner, running up hundreds of thousands of unpaid property taxes and utility bills, its permit suspended two years ago.
The legal limbo that followed attracted squatters, and things got much worse. A court-appointed receiver took over, decided it was beyond saving and an immediate fire hazard. Everyone was ordered out.
The people getting checks in the Reno motel were those who had no transportation to join that exodus. Thursday, the checks had caught up with them.
Others who scattered elsewhere have been getting their checks, but one man went virtually unnoticed.
There's a reason Boyd Selby wasn't in that group getting their checks.
As others will testify, he was the resident who kept to himself. Selby says he suffers from PTSD. Things like crowds, police and uniformed security unnerve him.
When the receiver began tearing down some homes two weeks ago, he hunkered down in his unit. He didn't, couldn't attend any of the informational meetings where others learned what was happening. He learned of the eviction, he says, a little over a week ago.
"With all that they did. Trashing all those trailers, arresting people I was too scared."
He got himself and his dog out by himself, unaware of offers of a room, even the relocation check.
"No, like two days ago or a day ago, that was it."
We learned of him late Wednesday and tracked him down near his mother's home in Stead. She's not allowed overnight guests and, again wary of breaking rules, he's been sleeping in his truck since he arrived, unaware of where and how to pick up his relocation money.
We called the receivers and were told that's been worked out. He should be paid in the next day or so. Meanwhile, Mike and Ramona Perry and the others have a modest stake in their pockets as they ponder the path ahead.
The receiver has told us everyone should be paid by Saturday. When that happens all the homes will be crushed. What will eventually become of the property is unknown.
The residents, we assume, will scatter. Some carry with them some measure of blame for what happened at the Loyalton Mobile Estates.
It's harder to blame other longer term residents like the Perrys and Boyd Selby, who paid their rent until they were told they couldn't.
A final note: the most surprising thing to this reporter throughout this unfolding story was the absence of any guidance, any social worker or agency, from the county or the state. They were never there.