FILE PHOTO. A homeless camp photographed in April 2018 inside private property in the hills behind the 26300 block of Diamond Place. Cory Rubin/The Signal

Supervisors approve plan to put mobile homes in reach of the homeless

County supervisors agreed on a plan this week to try to put mobile homes within reach of the homeless.

On Tuesday, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved a motion to pursue such a plan, calling it the County Mobile Home Program.

The hope is to close the gap between owning a home and homelessness by sprucing up existing mobile home parks, finding property to build new ones, and finding ways to put financing within reach of the homeless.

The motion submitted jointly by Supervisors Kathryn Barger and Sheila Kuehl reaches outside traditional affordable housing policies and definitions to another attempt to reduce homelessness.

“Mobile homes offer a unique opportunity to diversify the housing stock in Los Angeles County,” Barger said Tuesday, after the board voted for the program.

“My motion, which was unanimously adopted by the Board of Supervisors today, creates a County Mobile Home Program to add another tool in our ongoing effort to address the housing crisis,” she said.

“Specifically, the motion enhances outreach and education of existing mobile home finance programs,” she said.

“Allowing for existing housing dollars allocated by the board to be utilized for mobile homes seeks to create a mobile home preservation fund to keep mobile home parks open, improves livability conditions, and explores public-private partnerships for the development of affordable mobile home parks.”  

Barger’s idea for more and better mobile home parks gained traction in September when the Board of Supervisors approved her plan as a way of exploring

mobile homes as a viable option to affordable housing.

The September motion directed county agencies to come up with a comprehensive analysis and then make recommendations for an affordable housing model for mobile home parks, all the while addressing the need for increased affordable housing stock and quality of life issues.

The report came back to the board highlighting four main components:

  1. Getting the word out to mobile home park owners and managers about existing state and other government agency programs.
  1. Preserving mobile home parks and improving their quality of “livability.”
  1. Creating opportunities for mobile home parks to be developed.
  1. Expanding existing county programs to include possible funding of mobile home programs.

On Tuesday, one of the things supervisors agreed to under the program was to hire a real estate consultant who would research and identify specific opportunities for developing a new mobile home park or, at least, preserving an existing mobile home park, with required approvals, permits, environmental impact reports and plans.

The motion allows officials to to take up to $1.5 million from the future County Housing Acquisition Fund to buy properties for the purpose of developing mobile home parks.

It also requires the executive director of the Community Development Commission to look into the feasibility of the CDC‘s  annual notice of funding availability as a way of funding affordable mobile home projects.

Supervisors want the CDC to explore public-private partnerships. They also want the commission to find nonprofit housing developers willing to work with the county in developing or preserving mobile home parks.

In a letter prepared by Barger and Kuehl for their fellow supervisors in considering the motion, they said: “Mobile homes provide one more tool for our county to address the housing and homeless crisis.”

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