Minnesota Valley Action Council, along with local Mobile Home Park owners and the City of Mankato Departments of Public Safety and Community Development formed a partnership to replace substandard owner-occupied mobile homes for low-income households. This revitalization effort was aimed at providing safe and affordable housing, and fostering pride of ownership in the individual homes and parks as a whole.
This unique partnership brought different perspectives to the challenge of households living in substandard housing. It helped to develop a reasonable solution that is cost-conscious and maintains a degree of responsibility from the household, while assisting that household by lowering housing costs and providing a safe home.
MVAC applied for funds through Minnesota Housing’s Impact Fund, with matching funds coming from the other partners. Since MVAC staff routinely work with Minnesota Housing’s Rehabilitation Loan Program to rehabilitation mobile homes, this replacement pilot actually requires less staff time to implement than a rehabilitation project.
Once a potential property is identified, staff evaluate if it can be rehabilitated with the $27,000 available through the Minnesota Housing Rehab Loan Program. If the home requires more work than can be done with RLP, it is considered a candidate for the replacement program. Once determined eligible, the household shops for a new home, which MVAC inspects to determine it meets program guidelines and has a remaining useful life of at least ten years. The homeowners sign a repayment agreement for ten years that is forgiven if they remain in the home for the duration of that time. The park owners are responsible for the removal and destruction of the old home.
The parks benefit by reducing the number of blighted homes and improving the safety and appearance of the parks, while homeowners benefit from improved living conditions of a newer home. One unintended positive outcome one family shared is that their children are taking responsibility for their home and belongings, showing pride in their space, and demonstrating better behaviors at home and school.
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