Saving California Mobile Home Parks From Closures
New Emphasis: Retaining Affordable Housing By Assuring Security For Mobile And Manufactured Home Owners
“Manufactured homes provide the largest unsubsidized form of affordable housing in the United States,” said Esther Sullivan, a University of Colorado sociologist.
As property values continue to rise, the owners of mobile home parks across the U.S. are facing a growing incentive to sell their property to housing and commercial developers, potentially leaving resident mobile home owners to fend for themselves… an affordable housing sector in crisis.
Development of new manufactured home communities,(aka mobile home parks), have been few and far between for over two decades, as town and state housing authorities are attracted to the revenue potential from these properties being redeveloped for other uses.
Park closures often have created an untenable social crisis for mobile home owners forced to relocate from parks, often in urban areas, where residents tend to be older and have lived for most of their adult lives. Relocating is not realistic for most, as there are few available relocation sites and the cost and feasibility of moving an older mobile home in most instances not an option.
There are officials in several cities, counties and states that have recently begun analyzing and enacting actions and policies to address the mobile home park closure crisis….retaining existing affordable housing by assuring security for mobile and manufactured home owners in those communities.
The following excerpted report by the Woodland DAILY DEMOCRAT addresses California’s attempt to mitigate the mobile home park closures crisis.
California Bill Would Strengthen Protections For Mobile Home Owners
California has lost about 15,000 mobile home spaces in the past two decades due to park closures, according to data from the Department of Housing and Community Development, and advocates say the remaining mobile home parks are increasingly under threat, according to a newsletter by dailydemocrat.com
New legislation by a Monterey Bay state assemblyman would strengthen protections for mobile home owner residents facing displacement, in the name of California’s affordable housing goals.
Assembly Bill 705, introduced by Assemblyman Mark Stone, D-Scotts Valley, would ensure that if a mobile home park is closed or converted to another use, its residents would receive adequate compensation from park owners to relocate to another nearby lot or purchase a new manufactured home.
“Mobile home parks are often the last affordable housing option that California seniors and families have,” Stone said in a news release. “When park owners decide to close or convert their parks, we need to make sure there are protections in place to ease the financial burden of relocation.”
Park Owners Advocate For New Manufactured Home Parks And Existing Space Addition Approvals
The bill is backed by the Golden State Manufactured Home Owners League, which advocates for residents of mobile and manufactured homes, the California Rural Legal Assistance Foundation and Bay Federal Credit Union.
A trade association representing park owners, the Western Manufactured Housing Communities Association, disputes that parks are looking to cash out and is advocating for local regulations to be eased to allow new parks to be built and existing parks expanded.
“I think the most important thing to say is that this will not help with our housing crisis in any way, really, I can’t think of very many parks that are trying to close, said Sheila Dey, the association’s executive director. “Most of the park owners would like to add spaces, and if they could afford, would like to build new parks.”