Testimony in support of protections for mobile home park residents
On Wednesday, March 23, 2022, Alex Sánchez testified in support of House Bill 1287, known as Protections For Mobile Home Park Residents. Below is his testimony, as submitted:
Mr. Chair and members of the House’s Transportation and Local Government Committee, my name is Alex Sánchez and I am testifying in strong support of House Bill 22-1287, Protections For Mobile Home Park Residents.
I am the president and CEO of Voces Unidas de las Montañas and Voces Unidas Action Fund, two Latino-created, Latino-led advocacy organizations working in Summit, Lake, Eagle, Pitkin, and Garfield counties.
Today, I am writing in support of this legislation on behalf of myself, my organization, and 185 primarily mobile home park residents who signed our petition, spanning the state from Denver, Fort Collins, Silt, Breckenridge, Rifle, Gunnison, Carbondale, Basalt, Edwards, Glenwood Springs, New Castle, Leadville, Steamboat Springs, Avon, Leadville, El Jebel, Parachute, Dillon, Boulder, Battlement Mesa, Longmont, Frisco, Silverthorne and Gypsum.
I am providing this written testimony to elevate the voices of the more than 100,000 people who currently live in Colorado’s mobile home parks. I grew up in the Aspen Basalt Mobile Home Park where many of those residents continue to be my friends, my family, and my community. The community we created there made a lasting impression on the residents including me. It gave us a sense of belonging and a stable place to grow up. But that close knit community is on the brink of becoming unobtainable because the lot rents have climbed to as high as $1,300 per month.
Mobile-home residents are often on fixed incomes and many hold service-industry jobs that are vital to communities that rely on tourism and outdoor recreation. Research found that the median annual household income of those living in mobile homes was just $39,800 prior to the pandemic. Those residents increasingly find themselves being priced out of our communities and forced to move “down valley” or “over the hill,” which only increases costs and stress associated with traveling to and from work and child care, among other issues.
People are being displaced from their communities or left homeless. In 2020, the Pan and Fork Mobile Home Park closed down, displacing many Latino families from Basalt, including many of my own family members. Today, residents of the D&D and Cottonwood mobile home parks in Silverthorne are being forced to relocate this summer because their park is going to be developed to make way for houses. The lack of affordable housing is reaching crisis levels in our mountain communities. Displacing mobile home residents to make room for other residents does little to alleviate the problem. We have a chance to do something to protect residents this legislative session by passing HB 1287.
In the first-ever Colorado Latino Policy Agenda, addressing affordable housing was a top policy concern among both Latino community leaders and Latino adults. And Voces Unidas strongly supports these measures to provide basic protections and technical and financial support to mobile-home owners. They will increase stability for residents, protect housing affordability and create greater accountability in the last segment of affordable housing left in the market.
Latinos account for nearly a third (29 percent) of mobile-home park residents throughout Colorado, according to data compiled by Root Policy Research last year. In the approximately 73 mobile home parks in our service area of Garfield, Pitkin, Eagle, Lake, and Summit counties, that percentage is even higher because mobile homes are one of the only remaining affordable-housing options in our resort communities.
Let’s protect affordable housing and put basic resident protections in place before more Coloradans are uprooted from the homes they’ve built their lives -- and communities -- around. Please vote yes on this critical bill. Thank you.
To learn more about our policy priorities, visit our webpage.