If there’s one thing I’m hoping for in the New Year, it’s that you will join our fight to ensure the retirement security for manufactured homeowners.

cherylMy name is Cheryl Condo. I’m currently a manufactured homeowner living in Countryside at Vero Beach, Florida, which is owned by Equity LifeStyle Properties, Inc. (ELS). After retiring from TJ Maxx in 2004, I was excited to find a housing situation where I could live out my retirement years comfortably. Unfortunately, like many of the homeowners living in ELS properties across the country, I find myself struggling to make ends meet due to exorbitant and aggressive rent increases.

It seems that every year ELS enacts rent increases by upwards of 4% per year, but without any needed infrastructure investment in our community. Our clubhouse has remained unrepaired since a storm damaged it in 2004 while lampposts are rusting to their core. Homeowners are now required to pay for their own water and sewer service, something that used to be included in monthly rent.

Many of us homeowners are beginning to push back against ELS. This past November, a number of my neighbors and I held a picket to draw attention to our plight. Only through banding together in one common voice will we be able to ensure that ELS treats us with dignity and respect. ELS has already begun to respond by painting the lampposts and replacing some of the furniture at our community clubhouse which had been damaged. However, we have much farther to go.

Another way we’re fighting for economic and retirement security is by calling upon Congress and the President to strengthen Social Security. Social Security is a vital program that many homeowners rely on, and that’s why I’m asking you to send a message to Congress today.

We need to drown out those promoting cuts to the program by putting pressure on our Members of Congress to push for improvements, such as ‘Scrapping the Cap’, developing a better Cost of Living Formula (CPI – E) and establishing a Caregiver Credit (find out more about those by clicking here). Such improvements would strengthen Social Security for those currently receiving it and for generations to come.

Please join me, by clicking on the here and send a New Year’s message to your Member of Congress calling upon them to fight for improvements in our Social Security program.

Cheryl Condo