City Expands Program for Displaced Residents to Include Mobile Home Parks
Along the outskirts of Austin, many mobile home residents are feeling the pressure of looming development. Now, city leaders are working on a plan that would offer assistance to displaced residents.
The Austin City Council already had a plan in the works to offer assistance to people renting apartments or homes that are displaced by development. The council added a resolution Thursday to include mobile home residents in that ordinance. The measure was co-sponsored by Council member Pio Renteria, whose district is home to several mobile home communities.
“Just because they’re living in mobile homes doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be able to have some kind of assistance in finding them new places to stay,” he said.
That lack of help was highlighted by the current debate over the future of the Cactus Rose Mobile Home Park. The owner of the East Austin site has applied for a zoning change with the city, which would allow for new commercial and residential development. That means dozens of longtime residents will be forced to leave.
“Here we are faced with residents that are going to be asked to move their mobile homes, which they’re so old that no company will move it," Renteria said. "And we’re going to displace these people, and they can’t take their home with them.”
Some developers, like the one involved with Cactus Rose, have offered money to help residents relocate. But the resolution could offer a more long-term solution.
“I think that the council is finally beginning to look at that, the gentrification and displacement, and is going to call for a lot more assistance, and create funds to help in the relocation or hire someone to help to find alternative living space," said Susana Almanza with PODER, a nonprofit that's been advocating for mobile home residents. Assistance from the city, she said, "is something that’s very, very important.”
Almanza said having a designated resource for assistance will make future development easier. City staff are now working to draft a final ordinance that will include mobile home residents.