Grandmother faces eviction for taking care of child

Donna Souza and her grandson Bryson. (WFLA)
Donna Souza and her grandson Bryson. (WFLA)

BRADENTON, Fla. (WFLA) — A Bradenton grandmother is being kicked out of her home after bringing in her 1-year-old grandson.

Donna Souza lives in the Pine Haven Mobile Home Park in Bradenton. It’s a retirement community and she was told now that the child is living with her, she has got to go.

Souza smiles, laughs and sings while playing with her grandson Bryson. Her joy is evident, but she’s hiding her fear. She explained when she held up a piece of paper that was delivered to her on Monday.

“This is Bryson’s and my eviction notice,” Souza explained.

Bryson’s mother is battling drug addiction and is unable to care for him. So last year, Souza allowed Bryson to live here. The problem is, no kids are allowed to live at the Pine Haven Mobile Home Park.

“I don’t want him put in foster care. He doesn’t deserve that,” said Souza.

She was given a six month notice to sell her property, but she hasn’t had any luck finding a buyer. Now the deadline looms in 30 days and she has nowhere to go.

“I’m scared. I’m terrified. Not for me but for my baby,” said Souza.

Souza says the park management has not been cooperative. “Where’s their compassion? This is an innocent child, it’s not his fault,” said Souza.

Even neighbors are frustrated.

“This whole situation should never have come about….This is wrong, this is wrong,” said neighbor Art Brogren.

WFLA went looking for answers. When reached by phone, the mobile home park owner Mike Hickmann told us they’re following the rules that were put in place at the complex.

“Other residents have complained about this, we’re trying to follow the rules that are in place for all not just for one,” he said.

“In addition to the six months that we provided to her to sell her unit, which she signed an agreement voluntarily, she had been given verbal warnings prior to that time. We’re well in advance of six months plus another month that she’s been provided during the notice that she just received. She has not come to management since receiving the notice to talk about the issue. To suggest that we’re not listening or talking to her would not be accurate,” Hickmann added.

Souza understands the management’s position. She just wants them to be more sympathetic.

“I’m doing everything in my power to honor [the rules.] It’s just I can’t go into the streets with the baby.”

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