Palo Alto: Sold for $40M, Buena Vista Mobile Home Park Saved for Low-Income Families

The Buena Vista Mobile Home Park located in Palo Alto, California has been one of the rare bastions of affordable housing in the ultra expensive Silicon Valley. Until recently, it appeared the residents of the park would be forced to relocate from a community that countless families had called home for many years.

In 2012, 400 marginalized residents of Buena Vista were informed by the park owners that they intended to close the mobile home park and sell the land to a developer. In the ensuing five years, those residents have been uncertain about their future, fully realizing their homes were in jeopardy.

Buena Vista Mobile Home Park Saved

Buena Vista Mobile Home Park Saved: Photo courtesy of Mercury News

Residents of the Buena Vista Mobile Home Park recently learned that the uncertainty has ended, as the mobile home community was being purchased by the Housing Authority of Santa Clara County and the city of Palo Alto, agreeing to pay the existing land owner $40 million for the 4.5-acre park property. According to the Mercury News, the collaborative effort resulted in the residents being able to stay in their homes.

Many of the residents knew that if they’d been forced to relocate, they’d likely end up someplace far away because they couldn’t afford the cost of housing in the Bay Area. Rents at the park range between $1,000 and $1,200 a month, well below the area’s median monthly apartment rent.

Henry Ayala said he didn’t know how or where he would have moved his family, including a 7-month-old son. “It’s good to hear that we can stay,” he said. “Anywhere that’s affordable is going to be in the valley, Modesto, Tracy — too far way.”

Low-Income Housing Preserved

Santa Clara County Supervisor Joe Simitian, who had long championed the effort to save the park, called it a “great, great day,” adding that the agreement preserves more than 100 units of “desperately needed affordable housing,” prevents evictions of low-income residents and gives the property owner a fair shake.

“At one level, this was a test,” he said, a test whether or not our region remains a place of inclusivity and opportunity. In this instance, at least, I’m gratified to say we passed the test.”

Palo Alto Mayor Greg Scharff said the agreement provided “an extraordinary opportunity to preserve affordable housing for low-income residents, including at least 100 children.”

“I think it’s so important to know the role that the residents played,” Simitian said. “These are folks who have been living with the threat of eviction every day for the past five years, and yet they carried themselves with dignity and determination — it’s a wonderful outcome for them.”

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Main photo courtesy of the East Bay Times

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