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Low-income tenants have no choice as old mobile home parks are demolished

phoenix – Alondra Luis Vazquez and her husband have lived comfortably at Periwinkle Mobile Home Park for 10 years, owning a mobile home in a city with skyrocketing rents and spending about $450 a month on the lot. I felt lucky that I was paying.

But now they and dozens of other families have until May 28 to leave Phoenix Park, which was purchased seven years ago by nearby Grand Canyon University to build student housing. The city, which hasn’t had a new park built in more than 30 years, also had two other mobile home communities evacuated for new development this spring.

“I’m here because I have nowhere to go,” said Isabel Ramos, who lives in Periwinkle with her 11-year-old daughter. “I don’t know what will happen.”

The demolition of old mobile home parks across the country worries proponents who argue that bulldozing them out will permanently eliminate some of the already limited housing for the poorest. Residents may be forced to live with relatives or in their cars, he warned, as evictions and homelessness surge.

“Trailers represent a much larger portion of the affordable housing stock than people realize,” says Mark Stapp, who directs the master’s program in real estate development at Arizona State University. “Without it, many people would be left without a place to go.”

A recent study by the National Low Income Housing Coalition found that across the United States Shortage of 7.3 million affordable rental properties In Arizona, housing for ultra-low-income renters, defined as three-person households with an income of $28,850 or less.

Industry groups estimate that more than 20 million people live in some 43,000 mobile home parks nationwide.

“We are in the deepest affordable housing crisis we have ever experienced,” said Joanna Carr, acting president of the Arizona Housing Federation. “Housing is completely out of reach for a lot of people,” she said.

Ken Anderson, president of the Arizona Manufactured Housing Industry, said trying to bring old parks up to modern standards could be prohibitively expensive for owners, replacing electricity and sewage infrastructure with new homes. said there was a need.

At least six such communities have been demolished in Arizona in the past 18 months, he said, adding that Grand Canyon University “has worked backwards” to help residents more than other park owners.

“Many of these parks are 70 years old,” said Anderson, noting an increasing number of older communities being demolished for redevelopment. “It’s going to be a big problem in the future.”

Efforts underway to revive old mobile homes have their limits. Despite their name, most are not really mobile and can be very costly to move around. Older homes are dilapidated and often not moveable at all.

The Department of Housing and Urban Development recently announced $225 million in grants Donations will be made to governments, tribes and non-profit organizations to help preserve the mobile home, but the funds may only be used for: Replace instead of repair Dwellings built before 1976. Common in old parks.

Vermont earlier this year announced A mobile home improvement program funded with $4 million in federal funds. This will help park owners prepare vacant and abandoned land for new mobile homes, and help mobile home owners lay new foundations to make their homes more livable. is intended for

In Riverdale, Utah, the last of about 50 families at Lesleys Mobile Home Park will have to move out by the end of May to build new apartments and townhouses.

“State laws don’t protect us,” said Jason Williams, who sold a mobile home for half the asking price and now lives in a campervan.

Some older parks were not originally envisioned as permanent housing.

Florida City Campgrounds and RV Camps were built decades ago for vacationers heading to the Florida Keys and Everglades.

But the dilapidated park eventually became a home for retirees with fixed incomes and young families receiving government assistance. The city of Florida, the southernmost municipality of Miami-Dade County, sold it two years ago for a new townhouse project.

Cities often don’t like old parks because unlike other housing, they don’t incur property taxes for city services. Dilapidated parks can also be an eyesore, depressing the value of nearby real estate, even though the land on which mobile homes are built has skyrocketed in value.

Grand Canyon University in Phoenix said in a statement After purchasing Periwinkle in 2016, he “waited as long as possible” to build new student housing. “Now that we need to expand, the university has raised funds to provide multi-layered support to periwinkle tenants.”

The university initially gave residents six months to move out, but said it later extended the deadline to 13 months. It provided free rent for the first five months of the year, early move-out compensation, relocation assistance and some household items.

Many of the park’s residents are Spanish-speaking immigrants who earn minimum wage as landscapers and restaurant workers. Some retirees live on Social Security.

“We couldn’t find anything under $1,800. That’s way more than we could pay,” Luis Vazquez said of the apartment rent. She said the mobile home the couple lives in is too dilapidated to move in and should be abandoned.

“It took a toll on our health and mental state.”

Maricopa County, home of Phoenix, Over 74,000 housing shortages. Zillow.com currently has Median monthly rental price $2,095 for all bedrooms and property types in Phoenix.

More than 20 families have moved out of the periwinkle in recent months, leaving a weed-covered lot. The rusty remnants of several mobile homes with decaying wooden stairs were left behind.

Residents had asked for an additional 18-month moratorium on evictions and a zoning change to prevent indefinite evictions.

The Phoenix City Council decided to proceed with the eviction this spring, but put it on hold. $2.5 million in federal funding To help trailer home park residents who face eviction in the future.

Mike Traylor, CEO of the nonprofit Trellis, a former director of the Arizona Housing Authority, said the organization is working with universities to help periwinkle families find apartments and build mobile trailers. Said they were helping with the arrangements.

Still, Phoenix activist Salvador Reza said most families face an uncertain future.

“Some of them may live with other families with their uncles and aunts. Some may go out on the streets and become part of the homeless,” Reza said.

New Laws in Arizona Recently, state subsidies for owners forced to relocate their mobile homes for redevelopment were increased to $12,500 for single-section homes and $20,000 for multi-section homes.

Those who have to abandon their homes due to precarious circumstances can receive $5,000 for single-section homes and up to $8,000 for multiple-section homes.

Periwinkle resident Graciela Bertrand said it wasn’t enough.

“Do they want my house?” she asked, her voice cracking. “Give me a house as big as mine. I don’t ask for anything more.”


Editor: This version corrects that the nonprofit Trellis is working with the university to help periwinkle residents and was not allocated funds from the $2.5 million general fund established by the city .

Copyright 2023 Associated Press. all rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

https://www.local10.com/business/2023/05/20/low-income-tenants-lack-options-as-old-mobile-home-parks-are-razed/ Low-income tenants have no choice as old mobile home parks are demolished

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