People Post is a space for opinion pieces, letters to the editor and guest submissions from members of the Long Beach community. The following is an op-ed submitted by Terri Quinlan, a public relations specialist and resident of Belmont Shores Mobile Estates, and does not necessarily reflect the views of the Long Beach Post.
Belmont Shores Mobile Estates Resident Owners have observed the numerous improvements to Downtown Long Beach in anticipation of the 2028 Olympic Games. Participants from all over the world will no doubt be impressed when visitors see old Downtown Long Beach’s transformation into modern glass structures that declare pride of ownership. Long Beach is ahead of the pack as a beautiful city and it’s one of the leading cities in the state of California. Long Beach is already a leader in environmental issues, like clean air and smart technology that makes for one of the most successful ports in the nation.
In the meantime, California is in a housing crisis. In a letter to Mayor Robert Garcia and to the Long Beach Planning Commission in December 2017, Amy Cabrera Rasmussen, chair of Environmental Health Working Group Building Communities, and CSULB Economics Professor, stated:
“The city needs a long-range Land Use Plan Implementation as the key to policies and ordinances on a wide variety of subjects (including) anti-displacement policies and policies that preserve and create affordable housing. We cannot continue to grow as a City, in a healthy and equitable manner, if we fail to do so.”
According to Time Magazine, “Mobile homes represent the largest sector of non-subsidized affordable housing in the United States, home to 22 million Americans with a median annual income of less than $30,000.”
Further, the article states, “…Mobile home park residents, most of whom own their trailers (manufactured homes) but rent the land beneath them, have always been among America’s most vulnerable low-income homeowners. But since the 2008 financial crisis, and as an aging generation of mom-and-pop park owners cashes out, a new breed of investors bent on raising rents to increase returns has bought up a growing share of the market. In July, Blackstone Group, the world’s largest private equity firm, bought a portfolio of 14 mobile home parks in California and Arizona for $172 million—not to redevelop, but to operate. It’s one sign, according to Jim Baker of the watchdog Private Equity Stakeholder Project, ‘that the industry is becoming a commodity’.
“…When large companies have to make a decision between profit or repair and maintenance, oftentimes they’ll go with profit to maintain their shareholder value.”
The Time story was supported by the journalism nonprofit the Economic Hardship Reporting Project.
A recent post by the Mobile Home Park Home Owners Allegiance offers a complete history of Belmont Shores Mobile Estates and a list of all current “landowners.” You will see that numerous corporations are listed. There is no doubt that mobile home parks are becoming big business for numerous investors across the United States.
Belmont Shores Mobile Estates resident owners hope to keep the park in line with affordable housing and see space rent stabilization as the best method to meet that goal.
Now is the time for the city of Long Beach to take the lead and show other cities that Long Beach is a big city with a big heart that cares about what happens to its senior population on fixed income, including veterans and individuals with disabilities.
No matter what the terms, a 35% rent increase is excessive for anyone, especially seniors on a fixed income. We see an extension of time or credit as an ongoing attempt by management /owners to convince us to give up on our quest for a space rent stabilization moratorium and ordinance.
Manufactured homeowners are not mobile. We have a vested interest in our affordable homes and wish to keep rents affordable. More than 102 residents who live within the 347-space park support the enactment of a space rent stabilization moratorium and ordinance which would set the maximum annual rate increase based on the Consumer Price Index, which is generally between 3% and 5%. Capital improvements such as roads, sewer and storm drains are generally amortized over a 10-year period and not collected with a 35% increase over 3-4 years as currently proposed. We hope that the city will:
- Move forward as a big city that cares about its senior population.
- Adopt a space rent stabilization moratorium followed by a viable space rent stabilization ordinance.
We know that 110 municipalities have already successfully enacted space rent stabilization ordinances that are working with proven long-term success.
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