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Council Member Renteria Seeks Amenities for Mobile Home Parks

Miguel Gutierrez Jr./KUT

Mobile homes are often referred to as Austin’s most affordable housing. But mobile home parks don’t always offer amenities like green space for residents. One Austin City Council Member is hoping to change that.

When Austin City Council Member Pio Renteria visited some of his constituents at a mobile home park in Montopolis, he was shocked by some of the things he saw.

“When I went down there I said, 'my goodness, there’s no rec centers,'” Renteria said. “There’s nothing there for the kids. They’re just running around, and when I inquired with one of my policy aides, she said, 'yeah the laundry room is the recreational center.'”

Renteria is looking to change that reality, not just for his District 3 constituents, but for mobile home residents throughout the city. He wants to ensure that families have a place to gather and that kids can play safely in the neighborhood. Renteria has penned an ordinance that would require all new mobile home developments to include a playground, and at least one other recreational space. It would also require space for a community garden in new and existing communities.

So, just how many mobile homes are there in Austin? It turns out that’s a tough question to answer.

“One of our responsibilities is to record ownership on manufactured homes, but we do so upon application by the owner,” said  Joe Garcia with the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs. “So our records only reflect the number of homes that are titled by the owner. Some of the records might not be current if somebody purchased a home in years past and decided never to title it. We wouldn’t have record of it.”

But looking at the numbers we do have on hand, there are 22,760 mobile homes registered in Travis County, and Council Member Renteria said many more are in development.

“There’s huge mobile home parks now being built all along the Eastern Crescent, on the border of the city,” he said. “This is a little urgent now because there are so many in the pipeline.”

The Austin City Council is set to take up the mobile home resolution at today’s meeting.

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