Posts Tagged ‘sonoma county’

Californians Addressing Affordable Housing with $300 Million “Robin Hood” Plan, Including Manufactured Homes, ADUs

April 26th, 2018 Comments off


In response to the more than 5,000 homes destroyed in the October firestorm, stakeholders and county supervisors are pushing for a $300 million housing bond to be placed on the November ballot,” says Sonoma West.


The plan would include funds to upgrade or replace manufactured homes, or could be used for Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs), which are often prefabs or modular.

A survey indicates 71 percent of voters support the November ballot measure.

Other CA jurisdictions have passed similar measures. “There’s a tremendous need county wide for affordable housing,” Lynda Hopkins said. “After the catastrophic fires the need only intensified.Lynda Hopkins is the Fifth District Supervisor, and spoke to the Sebastopol City Council.


Sonoma County is near the red-hot Bay area housing market.

Supervisors are expected to consider a formal vote to put the bond on the ballot sometime in July. The Press Democrat reports 5,300 homes were destroyed in the fires that hit their county, and likewise devastated other parts of the state last year.

Sonoma West says the funding would come from, an increased “tax rate of $19.53 per $100,000 of assessed value, with a term of 26 years and a assumed interest rate of 4.56 percent, according to a working draft of the bond,” thus the term Robin Hood tax, taking from ‘richer’ property owners, and giving it to others. 

Whatever position the county takes, wouldn’t a more accepting use of manufactured homes on infill and other sites offer a private sector solution to the problem?

Out of this came a desire for a cross-jurisdictional, regional approach to addressing our affordable housing crisis,” Hopkins said.

Supervisors approved efforts to place the bond on the ballet during their April 17 regular meeting. Later that day, Fifth District Supervisor Lynda Hopkins spoke to the Sebastopol City Council to encourage feedback and support.


There’s a tremendous need county wide for affordable housing,” Hopkins said. “After the catastrophic fires the need only intensified.”

Sonoma County officials said similar affordable housing bonds in Alameda, San Mateo and Santa Clara counties have successfully been approved by voters. Hopkins said the county received positive feedback from a formal poll they undertook as part of the housing bond initiative several months ago.

In the poll, 71 percent of responders gave positive feedback to a proposed housing bond of more than the current $300 million proposed bond.

Out of this came a desire for a cross-jurisdictional, regional approach to addressing our affordable housing crisis,” Hopkins said, adding – ”This is in many ways a Robin Hood tax, where those with high-assessed property values are going to be contributing hugely to this bond.”

The county’s issues are a microcosm of what is happening in the nation’s most populous state. Housing affordability is perhaps the most pronounced in California. So on the one hand, it is encouraging to see manufactured homes being considered in this mix.

At the same time, CA is several ways, one of the more NIMBY – Not In My Back Yard – states.

As a consequence of NIMBY, “In 2016, according to the 2018 housing assessment of the California Department of Housing and Community Development, the state faced a shortfall of more than a million units for households earning between 50% and 120% of the median…” income.

If 1/3 of that million unit shortfall was filled by manufactured homes over 5 years, it would be an a huge increase over the 13,898 homes HUD Code manufactured homes sold in the that state in the 6½ years since August 2011 through February 2018.

It’s a clear example of obstacles and opportunities. The same needs exist in numerous markets from Hawaii to Boston, MA, or from Alaska to Florida. According to the researchers in the related report linked below, the choking off of affordable housing is costing the nation some $2 trillion dollars a year. ## (News, analysis, and commentary.)

Related Report:

YIMBY vs. NIMBY, Obama Admin Concept Could Unlock $1.95 Trillion Annually, HUD & MH Impact

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Manufactured Homes Repurposed in Costly Housing Market

May 31st, 2017 Comments off

An unrelated manufactured home in Sonoma County, California. Quality and affordability are keys to housing those in need. Credit: Press Democrat.

In a story that the Daily Business News originally covered here, the Village Mobile Home Park in Sebastopol, California is going to help provide housing to those who are at risk of, or are already, homeless.

Back in March, the city committed to invest $258,000 into the project to create a mix of affordable manufactured homes and apartments.

According to the Press Democrat, the community was purchased by the city 10 years ago, and has partially emptied out over time as the adjoining Laguna de Santa Rosa campground was closed and converted to parkland, with the intention the remainder of the property eventually be turned over to recreational use, as well.

But an agreement between the city of Sebastopol and the non-profit agency West County Community Services will utilize the community to provide housing to between eight and 12 additional people and families who are in need.

West County Community Services has also committed to provide a case manager and support services to any current or new residents who want help learning to manage and stabilize their lives, connecting them with treatment, health services or food programs.

CityInvestsinManufacturedHomesforAffordable HousingcreditSonomaWest-postedtothedailybusinessnewsmhpronewsmhlivingnews

Credit: Sonoma West.

The idea, of course, is to help them move up and onward,” said Tim Miller, executive director of West County Community Services.

But they can stay as long as they want.”

But, even with the dollar committed, the project will still be dependent on the ability and willingness of charitable residents to donate eight usable manufactured homes, although four units have already been acquired.

Organizers say they are hoping for the donation of a used construction unit that can be employed as a classroom, social service office and meeting place for the community.

Then there are the challenges facing the city.

The loss of campground revenue and diminished manufactured home occupancy forced the city to operate the community at a deficit approaching $75,000 a year, mostly for site and property management, while considering future options.

Even so, city officials have increasingly been reluctant to do anything that would eliminate a local source of low-cost housing that has no emergency shelter, and happens to be one of the most expensive places to live in the country.


Credit: Google.

The new plan is a win-win,” said Gale Brownell, a longtime Sonoma County housing advocate and member of the Group of Advocates in west Sonoma County.

While Brownell was instrumental in bringing the players together to develop the plan for Village Mobile Home Park, she gives credit to a Sebastopol woman named Darrin Batch, a regular at City Council meetings, and well-informed about city policies and budgeting.

She thought that was a terrible thing, given the fact that people were homeless,” said Brownell.

Currently, 65 people currently reside in the 18 home community.

And for 48-year resident Marjorie Wallace, age 90, knowing that there’s some stability is a huge relief.

Two of her sons, now in their late 50s, live with her. A third, who has cancer, is with her as well.

All are partly dependent on my Social Security income, so the uncertainty about what would happen if the park closed has been profound,” said Wallace.

For more on manufactured housing providing quality, viable solutions for those in need, including recent cases in Hawaii and British Columbia, Canada, click here and here. ##

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RC Williams, MHProNews.

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


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MHC Owner Leaves Legacy

May 31st, 2012 Comments off

SonomaCountyGazette in California names Harold C. Aguirre and the HCA Program as the Sonoma County Housing Coalition’s 2012 Housing Heroes, for quietly helping some 45,000 people over the years avoid homelessness. Aguirre made his family fortune in real estate, beginning in 1964 with MHCs, as HCA Management, and in 1989 established a trust working through local agencies to distribute the funds. The caveat was that all funds go directly to help people with housing assistance, not for administrative costs, and encouraging them to have a plan to get back on their feet. To date the HCA Program has given away $7 million, providing up to $1,000 for rent or mortgage assistance to families that qualify. Daughter Jennifer Thayer, noting the delight her father received from reading thank you letters from grateful beneficiaries at Christmas, says, “My dad wanted to build low income housing in Sonoma County but it just wasn’t happening. He decided if he couldn’t build houses he would do something to prevent homelessness.” Though active in reading applications for assistance, Aguirre was not known by the recipients of his donations. has learned that the family business has properties across the U.S., including 12 MHCs in Arizona, California, Oregon, and Washington. Aguirre passed away in 2010.

(Photo credit: HCA Management)