The Daily Tar Heel

Serving the students and the University community since 1893

Wednesday June 29th

Mobile home numbers on the move

Betty Burnette, a resident since 1972, speaks about climbing rent in her trailer park community. She gave the interview in her living room. When she first moved in it only cost $35 a month and tenants did not pay for water, as the lot owner paid for everyone. Now rent is $290 a month and tenants must pay for water because former residents abused the owner's generosity and used an excessive amount of water.
Buy Photos Betty Burnette, a resident since 1972, speaks about climbing rent in her trailer park community. She gave the interview in her living room. When she first moved in it only cost $35 a month and tenants did not pay for water, as the lot owner paid for everyone. Now rent is $290 a month and tenants must pay for water because former residents abused the owner's generosity and used an excessive amount of water.

“When I moved here, it was $35 and I didn’t have to pay water until people moved in here and started abusing it — $35,” she said.

“I got better service than I do now paying $290. They don’t do nothing now.”

Burnette, a Carrboro resident of Rocky Brook Mobile Home Park, believes the town needs to do more to keep the cost of living low for mobile home tenants like herself.

“When we had the flood they didn’t do anything,” she said.

“All they do is hold their hand for $290.”

With the cost of living on the rise in Chapel Hill and Carrboro, the number of mobile homes has been declining.

“I honestly think that unfortunately that is a trend that is going to be happening pretty soon, if it’s not already happening,” Delores Bailey, the executive director of EmPOWERment, said.

EmPOWERment is a local housing development nonprofit seeking to build homes and lives.

“Those are valuable pieces of property, and so I wonder about the state of mobile homes and if they are going to be there in a year or two,” she said.

Mobile homes can either be in a trailer park or be purchased independently, with most mobile-home owners buying the house and then renting the piece of land.

“I know that there is a real fear that people that own mobile home lots will sell them,” Bailey said.

From 2000 to 2005, Chapel Hill and Carrboro lost a total of 113 mobile homes, according to the Orange County Comprehensive Housing Strategy.

This drop in mobile homes — which totals an 81.4 percent decline — is attributed to the increasing land value in Chapel Hill and Carrboro.

“We value them — they are one of the components of affordable housing in Chapel Hill,” said Sally Greene, Chapel Hill town council member and mayor pro tempore.

In Orange County, there are an estimated 4,225 mobile homes with a margin of error of +/- 446, which is a decrease of 1,528 homes since 2005.

Because one of Chapel Hill’s priorities is providing affordable housing options, Greene said mobile homes are a part of the strategy to keep housing accessible for residents.

“The town of Chapel Hill is in no way interested in taking actions that would force mobile homes out of the community,” she said.

Greene said because many mobile homes are within trailer parks, she would like to see discussions between landowners and the town to find ways to keep costs low.

“I would be very interested to talk with the owner of mobile parks and see what kind of partnerships could be structured,” she said. “I recognize this is a complex problem, and we would welcome assistance.”

Yazmin Romero from the Nature Trail Mobile Home Community in Chapel Hill said, despite the increase in land value, the rent isn’t raised more than $10 to $15.

“Most residents own their trailers and they just pay us the rent,” she said.

Chapel Hill Town Council member Maria Palmer said she believes a step toward preventing mobile home evictions would exist in discussions between renters and mobile park owners.

“I am concerned about mobile homes and lots of affordable housing,” Palmer said.

“I want to do as much outreach as we can do to help people qualify for assistance.”

@kianamcole

city@dailytarheel.com



Comments

The Daily Tar Heel Victory Paper for March 7, 2022

Special Print Edition

Games & Horoscopes

Print Edition Games Archive