Posts Tagged ‘santa clara’

Billionaire Sees Shipping Containers as Homeless Solution

April 11th, 2017 Comments off

Homeless encampment residents watch it being destroyed in San Jose, CA. Credit: Bloomberg.

In the San Francisco Bay Area of California, housing, along with most everything else, is very expensive. In many cities in the region, this disparity creates a toxic combination: an affordable housing crunch and rampant homelessness.

A billionaire in the area believes that the solution lies in repurposing shipping containers.

According to HousingWire, Santa Clara based real estate developer John Sobrato recently unveiled a proposal to build 200 micro apartments for both homeless and low-income renters, utilizing shipping containers, turning them into units between 160 and 240 square feet with kitchenettes and bathrooms with showers.

I think it’s time to turn my attention to creating a very cost-effective solution to housing the homeless and very low-income people,” said Sobrato.


John Sabrato. Credit: Forbes.

Instead of sleeping in a pup tent or under an overpass, Santa Clara homeless folks will have a clean, dignified, safe place to call home.”

Sobrato plans to lease a 2.5-acre plot of city-owned land three miles from the San Francisco 49ers football stadium, which the city acquired in 2005 with the intention of creating affordable housing.

Funding for that plan fell through, and in October of last year Sobrato approached the city with his idea.

Per Bloomberg, Sobrato asked for a 57-year lease at the cost of $1 a year. In return, his group, the Sobrato Organization, would build and own the apartments, then lease them back to Santa Clara County, which would hire property management and homeless service providers.


The proposed area for development. Credits: Google, The Petition Site.

The project, called Innovation Place, would be projected to open in 2018, with half of the apartments being rented to the homeless, and the other half being made available to renters earning between 50 and 80 percent of the area’s median income.



While many see Sobrato’s idea as noble, there are those that disagree. An anonymous petition began to circulate shortly after Sobrato presented his plan, and has 852 supporters.

While some may disagree, the numbers show that the need for affordable housing is the state is dire: 17 ballot measures were on the ballot last November dealing with affordable housing.

The Daily Business News has covered a number of potential NIMBY (Not-In-My-Back-Yard) stories recently, where current residents appear to be working to keep manufactured homes or other affordable housing options for communities out.

Most notable is the case in Aiken, South Carolinawhere Councilman Danny Feagin was quoted as saying “As long as it keeps the mobile home parks [sic] out, I think the folks would be satisfied,” in relation to a proposed rezoning ordinance.

For more on shipping containers being used to solve the growing affordable housing crisis around the world, click here. ##


(Image credits are as shown above.)



RC Williams, for Daily Business News, MHProNews.

Submitted by RC Williams to the Daily Business News for MHProNews.

MHC Gets Reprieve – But for How Long?

February 13th, 2017 Comments off

The Blue Bonnet Mobile Home Park. Credit: Flickr.

In California, the San Francisco Bay Area is one of the most expensive places to live in the state. Some one-bedroom apartments in downtown San Francisco can start at $4000 per month.

South of San Francisco, in the city of Sunnyvale, one of the last affordable housing havens in the area is in trouble.

Blue Bonnet Mobile Home Park is surrounded by newer, more expensive townhomes and apartments, and, according to the Mercury News, last February residents were notified that the community would be converted into a residential development.

A company called East Dunne Investors LLC, based out of nearby Morgan Hill, submitted a preliminary review application with the city detailing plans for 60 three-story townhomes.

This news left residents of Blue Bonnet nervous and unsure of their place in the Santa Clara Valley.

I feel like I’m being kicked in the gut and thrown out in the street,” said Alfonso Gonales, who has lived in the community with his wife Silvia for 10 years.


Alfonso Gonzales, with his wife Silvia. Credit: Mercury News.

The Sunnyvale City Council was set to review the application on January 24th, but an attorney for a number of Blue Bonnet residents told the council that they had not been given sufficient time to review a conversion impact report for the park. The report is required by the city before a manufactured home community closes, and it lays out how the former residents will be compensated for their homes and assisted in finding new places to live.

Gonzales and fellow Blue Bonnet residents have been given an extra month to review the report.

Should the council approve the report, residents would receive the monetary assistance amounts proposed in the report, then the property owner would be able to close the community.

A report from the city of Sunnyvale shows that Blue Bonnet and nearby Aloha Mobile Village are the only two manufactured home communities in the city that have residential and not “manufactured home exclusive” zoning. This means that they can be converted more easily than other communities.

City documents show that the average relocation assistance for manufactured home owners is $127,994, which includes a rent subsidy, moving costs, first and last deposit and the value of their home. For residents who rent their homes, the total would be $30,778.

We’re invested in these,” said homeowner Mary Lou Clark. “We’re not in apartments; we own these homes and we are losing our investments and the potential to do better.”

They have a right to sell, but give us adequate compensation,” said Gonzales.


Sunnyvale, shaded in red. Credit: Google.

In the hyper expensive San Francisco Bay Area, Blue Bonnet residents say that they are concerned that they won’t be able purchase another manufactured home anywhere in the area, and may be forced out of the area entirely.

I am a real estate professional and own my own property management company in Cupertino, and after much research, I found only 45 active listings in Sunnyvale for mobile homes. Only two are under $100,000, which is what a majority of the families were offered,” said Natalie Swarkis, daughter of Blue Bonnet resident Vincent Swarkis, during the recent council meeting.

Many of the residents are on fixed incomes and would not qualify for apartments that might require three times the amount of monthly rent needed to sign a lease.

Public records obtained by the Mercury News show that Sue Chuang purchased Blue Bonnet in 2005. While she is still listed as the owner, East Dunne Investors LLC is in the process of purchasing the property according to the conversion impact report.

Last November, the city’s housing and human services committee voted that the conversion impact report was inadequate and requested a more detailed description of how the relocation assistance described in the report “will ensure that all residents will be able to obtain adequate housing.” ##

(Image credits are as shown above.)


RC Williams, for Daily Business News, MHProNews.

Submitted by RC Williams to the Daily Business News for MHProNews

Non-profit Acquiring Manufactured Home Communities in Oregon

June 3rd, 2014 Comments off

The St. Vincent de Paul Society of Lane County, Oregon purchased the 63-home site Oakridge Mobile Home Park in Oakridge, Oregon for $1.125 million, its fourth acquisition of a manufactured home community in ten years, according to Aided by state and federal grants and a subsidized low-interest loan from The Network for Oregon Affordable Housing, Terry McDonald, of St. Vincent’s, says its goals are to provide affordable housing and ensure good living conditions for residents. The non-profit will spend $350,000 in improvements, including the replacement of eight dilapidated manufactured homes, as has been informed. As a condition for receiving the public subsidies, residents must earn below 80 percent of the area’s median income. St. Vincent de Paul previously acquired Garfield Apartments and Trailer Park in Eugene, OR, Harwoods Mobile Manor in Santa Clara, OR, and Hillcrest Mobile Home Park in Oakridge. ##

(Image credit: St. Vincent de Paul Society)

Patrick and Drew’s Hometown Experiences Phenomenal Job Growth

May 6th, 2014 Comments off

The Elkhart-Goshen, Indiana metro area ranks number two out of 240 for job growth in small-sized cities–those defined as having under 150,000 jobs—and ranks fourth of all 398 cities of all sizes surveyed. Bismarck, North Dakota topped both of the lists, according to Ranking above Elkhart in the “all cities” category after Bismarck are San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, Calif., and San Francisco-San Mateo-Redwood City, Calif. Kyle Hannon, president and CEO of the Greater Elkhart Chamber of Commerce, says, “Elkhart is more accustomed to leading the nation in jobs. Now that we are shrugging off the final remnants of the recession, our job growth is going to continue to be impressive.” The city is headquarters to at least two component suppliers of the manufactured housing industry, as MHProNews know—Drew Industries, Inc. and Patrick Industries—as well as recreational vehicle manufacturers and the RV/MH Hall of Fame Museum.##

(Photo credit:–lunch box)