Former Resident Profile: Steve Smith

Steve Smith and his daughters, 5/31/2012 - Final Vigil at Riverdale

Steve Smith works for the gas industry and is a displaced resident of Riverdale Mobile Home Park.

The same industry he works for put him out of his home to build an automated water withdrawal site and water line to eliminate water hauling jobs even further.

Steve had this to say, in his own words, "A monetary amount is not going to take away the pain of leaving, what we lost. You can't replace memories. For those who are lucky to own their homes and were fortunate to buy one, just because I lived in a trailer, doesn't make you a better person than me. I have a job and I work for a living. I'm no different than you."

At work, Steve plays a critical role on the well pad during the hydraulic fracturing process. At home, he is a father to two beautiful little girls, rides a Harley, and, until recently, was paying off his mobile home in order to sell it. He dreamed of buying a house one day where his little girls could play and have friends over.

On March 28, 2002, Steve moved his home into Riverdale. He paid $3,500 to move the trailer in and $1,500 for a shed to store his bike and tools.

He was paying off his home to the owners under an article of agreement that charged him $213.51 per month, which he paid for ten years, totaling more than $25,000. When he voided the article of agreement in April due to Aqua America's order to move, he still had roughly $10,000 owed. The home remained property of the owners, who received the $2,500 offered by Aqua America to move the trailer, and Steve, who couldn't afford the local housing market, abandoned the home to live with a friend. After his trailer was moved in April, the shed he bought and was using as storage was broken into by someone not from Riverdale and his generator, battery charger, tools, and collectors items were stolen. He lost everything he had worked for and didn't even receive the $2,500 payment from Aqua.

As we remain concerned for former residents and their losses, we must consider the insulting offer Aqua made for $2,500 for former residents to move and ask, why not fair compensation? This fight is not over until our neighbors like Steve receive just and fair compensation from Aqua America.

- Alex Lotorto

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