The following is from my mobile-home park closure story. It’s a growing statewide trend:
Country Aire is the latest in a string of mobile-home parks to close statewide. More than 52 parks have closed or are scheduled to close since the beginning of 2006 – a loss of more than 2,000 spots, according to the State Department of Community, Trade and Economic Development’s Office of Manufactured Housing.
Pierce County is the state’s hardest hit area. Thirteen parks have closed or will close in the same timeframe, eliminating 499 spaces.
The average park closure rate from 1989-2002 was 5.8 per year. From 2003-07, 13.6 closed each year.
"It’s obvious the real-estate prices – especially those within urban growth boundaries up and down the freeway where a lot of the mobile-home parks are located – increase so dramatically that, we assume, owners are selling for that reason," said Kristi Aravena, a relocation assistance coordinator with the state.
The state offers relocation assistance, but the department can only distribute $30,000 per month, leading to a 10-month waiting list.
As of Friday, 36 people applied for about $300,000 in reimbursement.
"In the next few months, I can say that will be dramatically going up due to more parks I know will send in a lot of invoices," Aravena said. "It’s such a fluid thing, but there’s always a wait list, and it’s not uncommon for it to take one or two years to get the reimbursement money."