Our Metro area continues to face a shortage of low-cost housing options for individuals and families. For many years, mobile homes (also called manufactured homes) and mobile home parks have provided the largest source of unsubsidized, naturally occurring affordable housing in America. Wood Village has five mobile home parks, which the City value for their provision of low-cost housing options for people to live and call home.
However, it can be difficult to protect this type of low-cost housing in the long-run. Typically, an individual or corporation owns the land in a mobile home park. The land is then rented out to mobile homeowners (or renters) who are charged ‘site fees.’ While this helps to keep the housing costs low for residents, it means that even if a tenant owns the home they live in, the landowner is still ultimately responsible for taking care of and making decisions about the land underneath their home. Across the nation, many mobile home parks are being sold and redeveloped, losing the precious affordable housing they provide.
In January, the Wood Village Mayor and City Council heard a presentation about the ‘resident-owned community model (or co-op)’ of mobile home park ownership. Under this model, the residents of a mobile home park collectively purchase the land in their mobile home park from the owner. Residents then share responsibility for managing the park and making decisions about its maintenance and future. This model of ownership helps individuals and families gain long-term housing security. This model of resident–owned communities has been around since the 1980s and has a very high history of success. However, for this model to work, the landowner must be willing to sell to park residents, and the residents must agree to work together to purchase their park.
The nonprofit CASA of Oregon has provided housing support services to Oregon communities for over 30 years. CASA is an expert in helping park residents achieve the resident-owned community model. CASA provides financial and technical support and guidance during the entire process, for both residents as well and land-owners of mobile home parks.
For more information about the resident-owned community model, visit these websites:
CASA of Oregon: https://casaoforegon.org/