OLYMPIA – The state Department of Community, Trade and Economic Development (CTED) awarded $600,000 in federal funding for a one-year pilot program to help low-income residents who currently live in manufactured/mobile home parks slated for closure in Spokane and Pierce Counties.
The Pierce County Housing Authority will receive $324,865 and the Spokane Housing Authority, doing business as Northeast Washington Housing Solutions, will receive $275,135. The money is made available under the HOME program of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).
HOME provides grants to states and localities that communities use, often in partnership with local nonprofits, to fund a wide range of activities that build, buy and rehabilitate affordable housing for rent or homeownership, or provide direct rental assistance to low-income people.
Under the State’s new tenant-based rental assistance program, which went into effect January 1, up to 12 months of rent assistance per household may be available for homeowners who do not keep their homes. Homeowners who move their homes to another park may receive up to 12 months assistance to help pay space/pad monthly rent and utilities, helping to ensure continued home ownership. Security and utility deposits may also be included.
The Carriage Court Mobile Home Park in Lakewood, Pierce County, is scheduled to close in March, eliminating 40 housing spaces. This summer, Spokane County will lose 44 spaces at the Myers’ Mobile Home Park in Cheney, and 49 spaces at Picnic Pines Mobile Home Park in Medical Lake.
“Loss of affordable housing is a big concern in many cities and towns across the state,” said Juli Wilkerson, CTED Director. “As manufactured home communities close, low-income families, seniors, and disabled persons are especially at risk for losing homes they own, and often have limited housing options. We want to help them have access to safe, affordable housing and ease the burden they experience when forced to leave a familiar community.”
Manufactured/mobile home park closures continue to reduce the statewide stock of affordable housing, with nearly 850 households expected to be affected this year. Average park closures have skyrocketed, from 5.8 per year in the period 1989-2002, to 13.6 per year in 2003-2007. An estimated 1000 parks are located in urban growth areas and could be threatened due to rising land values.
Prior to addition of the new HOME rental assistance program, help for displaced homeowners in Washington had come through the Mobile/Manufactured Housing Relocation Assistance Fund. Eligible homeowners could receive a maximum reimbursement payment of $7500 for single-section homes and $12,000 for multiple-section homes for costs related to moving or demolition. The relocation assistance program is funded by a $100 fee paid by homeowners each time a manufactured home over one year old and valued at $5,000 or more is purchased in a mobile home park or manufactured home community. Last year CTED received an average $120,000 in monthly reimbursement requests that exceeded revenue collected. Length of time for reimbursements to households on the statewide wait list now averages nine months.
CTED is the lead state agency charged with enhancing and promoting sustainable community and economic vitality in Washington. For more information, visit http://www.cted.wa.gov/.
Local media contacts:
Pierce County Housing Authority, Charlie Gray, 253.620.5426
Spokane Housing Authority, Mary Jo Braaten, 509.252.7108