Reimagining Virginia’s Mobile Home Parks

Thursday, February 16th, 2023

Over 350,000 Virginians live in Mobile Home Parks. According to the Department of Housing and Urban Development, mobile homes are the largest source of non-subsidized affordable housing in the U.S. At a time when, according to JLARC, over 900,000 Virginia households pay more than they can afford for their housing (53% are renters, 47% owners), mobile home communities offer affordable homeownership and affordable rental options.

And yet, Mobile Home Parks are closing across the Commonwealth, further shrinking the supply of affordable housing. Investors are purchasing long-time mobile home communities and closing them to use the land for market rate apartment complexes, displacing families who have lived in the parks for years, sometimes decades. Longstanding mobile home communities in Albemarle, Charlottesville, Newport News, Norfolk, and Northern Virginia have been sold and redeveloped. Even when investors maintain the properties as mobile home parks, they often raise lot rents to unaffordable levels. For example, in a mobile home park in Mount Vernon, the new owner increased lot rents from $350 to $1000 a month.

A proposal in the Senate Budget will help stop further displacement of families. The budget amendment includes $3 Million to create the Manufactured Home Parks Affordable Housing Pilot Program. This pilot program will provide grants to nonprofit housing providers, and resident associations or other entities owned by at least 25% of a park’s residents, to be used to purchase mobile home parks. To qualify for a grant, the recipient must pledge to maintain the land as a mobile home park for at least 30 years.

Resident and nonprofit ownership of parks is a proven strategy to preserve and improve mobile home communities. In 2020, the Richmond nonprofit Project:Homes purchased Bermuda Estates, a run-down mobile home park in Chesterfield. Since purchasing Bermuda Estates, Project:Homes has made great improvements to the park including: repaving roads, paving driveways, doing much-needed repairs to the sewer system, adding two brand-new, energy efficient mobile homes to the community, and making substantial repairs to individual homes at no-cost to the homeowners.

To learn more about the benefits of Resident Ownership of Mobile Home Communities, see the National Consumer Law Center’s Manufactured Housing Resource Guide:

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