Mobile Home Residents Staying Put

A group of Texas mobile home owners are making news. The residents of the Pasadena Park mobile home community banded together and collectively purchased the land on which their homes sit. It's a move that affordable-housing advocates applaud.

Pasadena Park residents also seem to be in alignment with a co-housing trend springing up around the country.

What's so significant about the move? First, a little background on what it means to live in a mobile home in America.

There are over 8.8 million mobile home residents in the United States according to a 2000 census.

Typically, mobile home owners rent the land on which their home is "parked" in exchange for services such as electric connection and utilities. These parks are typically situated on the fringes of metropolitan or rural areas.

Most mobile home parks are owned by investors. As the metropolitan areas expand investors can quickly sell the lots at profit as the land value increases, forcing residents to move with little notice and great expense. Mobile home residents are not uniformly granted the same renters rights familiar to apartment dwellers.

Pasadena Park residents, however, are no longer subject to this risk.

There are many advantages for residents now that they own the property underneath their homes. First and foremost, they have greater stability. Some predict this will translate into a greater sense of community. Lance George, a research analyst with the Housing Assistance Council, a nonprofit focused on rural housing needs, says Pasadena Park represents "manufactured housing done right and done responsibly." Financially-speaking, residents now pay fees back into a collective fund. Profits are reinvested into the mobile home community.

Bernadette Alvarado serves as interim president of the nonprofit board since the residents purchased the property, reports the Houston Chronicle at Alvarado is quoted as saying the purchase of the property was empowering. "We make our own decisions, and we can make sure that all the residents know everything that's going on."
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