In Fredericksburg, Virginia, The Free Lance Star
- The holidays were hard for Ruby Alsop. When the turkey came out of the oven on Thanksgiving and when tinsel went up on the Christmas tree, her heart fell a little bit knowing each milestone brought her a little closer to eviction from the only home she has ever known.
Alsop is one of more than 50 residents of the Fredericksburg Trailer Park off U.S. 1 across from Cowan Crossing who will soon be evicted. Last summer, the park’s former owner declared bankruptcy and the Silver Cos. purchased the property for $1.45 million. The developer plans to turn the park property into a commercial center.
The routine business transaction has been devastating for residents like Alsop, who has battled a myriad of health problems that date back to 2008. She had to have her legs amputated last year and was coping with that diagnosis when she received her eviction notice.
“I thought I had a stroke,” she said. “To be told I can’t stay in my home by no fault of my own. I had no part in why we have to leave. I paid my bills. There’s just no affordable housing out there.”
Jud Honaker, president of commercial development for the Silver Cos., said there’s no firm date for residents to leave yet. He said the company is trying to give the residents as much time as possible.
“It’s tough,” he said. “The trailers have been there a long time and many don’t meet current codes. From a safety standpoint it’s probably best for residents to leave.” He said that by April or May, he should be in a position to put forth a development plan.
A 2014 HDAdvisors report says 53 percent of manufactured home households receive government assistance, and that while trailers are an affordable path to home ownership, owners are often burdened by high interest loans and other financial barriers that make wealth building difficult.
Unlike most mobile home parks, the Fredericksburg Trailer Park is in an urban environment, near public transportation and groceries.
“Mobile home parks in urban areas have been in decline for decades as few new parks are permitted and existing parks are gradually being replaced as rising land costs support denser development,” the report said. “Negative perceptions of parks by urban planners and policy makers have fueled this trend.”
Still, manufactured homes remains the largest subsidized form of affordable housing in the country, the report said.