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Marina’s Impending Closure Threatens To Leave Retirees Homeless

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WILMINGTON (CBS) —Tough times have arrived at the marina.

Contrary to the image of wealthy sailors who trot the globe aboard their boats, nearly a dozen lifelong boat dwellers are struggling to find a new place to dock after the marina they’ve called home for years was labeled by city and port officials as too dilapidated to be safe. The marina’s operators neglected to maintain the marina, leading to floorboards pockmarked with large holes and even some vessels partially sinking.

The marina is owned by Colonial Yacht Anchorage, Inc. According to the Port Of Los Angeles, the long-time operator, Maria Camillo, and her family owe the city $400,000. They filed for bankruptcy and lost ownership of the marina.

The city of Los Angeles initially sought other operators to manage the marina, but decided to close it when they saw the conditions of the docks and slips.

“For their mess-up we have to pay,” resident John Loftus said. “As it is, we’re just struggling to find a place to go and all the other places are going, ‘We could maybe take you but it’s going to cost $150 more.'”

Loftus said there’s been times where residents didn’t have electricity or water but they “toughed it out because of the price”.

Los Angeles Harbor officials are scheduled to evict nearly 100 tenants at the Colonial Yacht Anchorage in Wilmington. Of those tenants, 11 live on their boats full-time.

Many of the tenants, who are retirees living on a fixed income, say it will be tough to find a new place for their boats, partly because the Los Angeles Harbor Department has a 5 percent live-aboard cap for each marina operator, most of which are already at that limit.

Rent is also a major issue — its $636 a month at the Colonial Yacht Anchorage in Wilmington, and double that at any other marina, the Los Angeles Times reported.

“My husband had a stroke 10 years ago so we’re on limited income, SSI, and this has put an incredible hardship on us,” resident Faye Jeffries said.

Boat owners say the city and port officials did not make the eviction plans public, until March 22, when a sign was posted on the front gates of the marina.

“We’ve all been here all this while — why 30 days to get out?” Jeffries said.

The Port of Los Angeles said they were helping the residents to relocate.

“The Port of Los Angeles is working with tenants to try to find them alternative locations and at the same time keep the marina area safe,” Port of L.A. spokesman Phillip Sanfield said.

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