Between a Rock and a Hard Place – Residents Face Challenges
In Weimar, Texas, a situation at a city council meeting this week spurred a bittersweet commentary regarding low income, manufactured home community residents, and the struggles that city officials often have in trying to solve related challenges.
“This past Thursday Weimar council had a real challenge on their hands. There was a mobile home park [sic] in town that wasn’t zoned as a mobile home park [sic],” wrote Colorado County Citizen Publisher Michelle Banse Stokes in an editorial.
“Changing the zoning designation meant several families would have to upgrade their substandard housing with repairs or replacement. Not changing the designation would mean that they’d have to go. It was an oversight that’s been going on for decades. And the families held their breath as they awaited council’s decision.”
Stokes then took note of how the council was trying to work through the situation.
“The mayor called several times for someone to speak, but the families, little ones in tow, simply sat in silence,” wrote Stokes.
“Council members discussed the problem for over an hour, seeking advice from the city attorney and code enforcement officer. It was easy to see that they didn’t take their jobs lightly.
Weimar officials, and our mayor in particular, have been making a visible effort to clean up our little town. Old homes are being torn down and replaced with new brick ones, citizens with debris in their yards are being cited and loose animals are being impounded. And I think everyone would have to admit, these are good things for our town.”
As the council members worked to come up with a viable solution, Stokes noted her feelings about the battle between better quality housing, while realizing the potential of pushing those less fortunate out in order to make that housing a reality.
“No one wants to see children living in poverty, but it exists all around us. Cleaning up this mobile home park [sic] will make it look better from the outside and it may raise the standard of living there, but it may also push out the people that live there now,” wrote Stokes.
“One council member suggested during the meeting that they could just get new homes, as it would be cheaper than repairing the ones they had. Let’s get real … if these people could afford a better home, don’t you think they would already have it?”
In the end, as the council rendered their decision, Stokes had mixed feelings.
“My fear is that these families will be forced to the outskirts of town by the new ordinance and it’s requirements. And that is why I was glad I wasn’t in council’s shoes Thursday when they declared the property a mobile home park [sic],” wrote Stokes.
“All and all, I agree with their decision. There really wasn’t anything else they could do. I can only hope that they will make good on their word to work with the property owner and residents by providing adequate time to get the homes where they need to be.”
For more on the challenges that manufactured home communities face, and the hope provided by organizations such as St. Vincent De Paul in Oregon, click here. ##
(Image credits are as shown above.)
Submitted by RC Williams to the Daily Business News for MHProNews.