Woman gets new home after refusing to pay rent because of sewer issues

When Martha Jones was leaving Municipal Court Thursday morning, having just been evicted from her squalid trailer in south Columbus, she had no idea what was going on behind the scenes.

Jones, whose story was told in Wednesday's paper, had been forced to move in with a friend recently because raw sewage had backed up into her two-bedroom mobile home in the Pine Tree Estates mobile home park.

She refused to pay January's rent because she said the trailer was uninhabitable. The park's manager filed a dispossessory warrant and took her to court. On Thursday morning, Municipal Court Judge Steven Smith gave Jones, and all the others who either couldn't or wouldn't pay their back rent, seven days to clear out their belongings.

The eviction meant nothing to her since she had no intention of living in the trailer another day, she said. But she was still forced to live with a friend until she could get back on her feet.

Meanwhile, as Jones was leaving the Government Center, Co

lumbus Councilor Pops Barnes, who brought Jones' plight to light, had been contacted by Tracy Sayers, an executive with Pezold Management Group, which owns a mobile home called Pine Meadow Estates.

Sayers told Barnes he had seen the story in the Ledger-Enquirer and was arranging for a three-bedroom, one-bath mobile home in Pezold's park.

Jones was in tears as she toured the trailer for the first time Thursday afternoon. The trailer was a far cry from the one she's leaving. It smells of fresh paint instead of feces and has a large grassy space out front.

"I have a home," she said repeatedly. "I never would have dreamed."

Jones, who lives with her 15-year-old son, Stan, is a student at Virginia College, where she is studying to be a medical assistant. She said she will use the smallest of the three bedrooms as an office and study space.

Stan is a wrestler on the Carver High team that is currently away at a tournament.

He'll be back on Saturday, Jones said, expecting to return to his old room, the one where you can see the bare ground through the hole in the floor.

"My son is going to love this," she said, wiping her eyes. "Oh, what a blessing!"