Congress exploring ways to preserve affordable mobile housing supply

WASHINGTON — Nationwide roughly 22 million families live in mobile housing.

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These factory-built homes are typically an affordable pathway to homeownership, but rising land costs are threatening that.

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Experts say families who live in mobile homes usually own just the house itself and not the land that it sits on.

Photos: Congress exploring ways to preserve affordable mobile housing supply

That means they don’t always receive the same benefits as traditional homeowners, and they may face eviction if they can’t keep up with rising land costs.

The Manufactured Housing Institute estimates more than 105,000 mobile homes were produced last year alone.

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But in some areas, housing experts say mobile home park owners are redeveloping the land for commercial uses.

“We have to find ways to incentivize owners of the mobile home parks to if indeed rather than sell, redevelop in a way that is sensitive to their residents who are there, giving them options on the redeveloped properties,” said Michael Liu, director of the Miami-Dade County Public Housing and Community Development Department.

Liu told lawmakers these negotiations may displace families and he said many residents are concerned about becoming homeless.

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“If the government can provide enough assistance to work with the owners of mobile home parks to compassionately and fairly work with residents to provide them with relocation assistance,” said Liu. “For instance, potential homeownership options, heavy-duty down payment assistance, special mortgage assistance.”

Another possible solution involves putting mobile homes on a community land trust to help preserve long-term affordability.

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