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A Success Story For Many New First Time Home Owners

Aug 14, 2008
For the residents of a trailer park in Olympia Washington the threat of eviction vanishes as they own their homes. The residents of the park in Olympia were soon to be evicted and lose all they had invested in their homes when a large sum of money was demanded to keep their homes; a feat that was out of reach for all of the residents. The 30 College Street Mobile Home Park residents were told they had to pay $95,000 each for their lots or they would be evicted. Unbelievable distress turned into cooperative hope and then unimaginable joy of success when the residents banded together for a common goal.

Just 10 months after the demand for the money the residents of the park formed a cooperative and raised $1/7 million. With the help of federal, state and county grants as well as low-interest loans the residents are looking forward to signing off on the deal September 12, 2008. The residents will move from soon to be evicted renters to first time home owners by working towards a common goal.

According to a public interest lawyer with the Columbia Legal Services of Seattle, most of the residents would be without a place to live if it were not for the deal they came together to make. The deal turned out to be a win-win for everyone involved. For the residents who did not own their homes prior to the deal they are not new home owners and have been given a sense of accomplishment and success. The residents who already held mortgages on their homes but did not own the property faced losing their investment if they had to move their trailer off the property; most would end up in the dump.

These residents received a sense of relief and a lifting of the stress and worry that plagued them for months. For all of the residence who was saved from eviction they have been given an experience of a lifetime as neighbors are brought together into a big family. According to one resident, "It's been a real joy to participate in this kind of experience."

The Olympia Park, once named College Street Mobile Home Park is now renamed. The park is now called Hidden Village and it is the first park in the state to benefit from a new manufactured home program. The new program was established by Washington's Housing Trust Fund. The former owner of the park property was also the first to receive a tax waiver; the waiver was approved by the Legislature to provide more incentives for park owners.

The goal of the tax waiver is to entice park owners to sell the property to the residents instead of selling to developers. By selling to the residence many families are spared from eviction and are able to continue their lives as home and property owners.

Land values have been exploding and this has led to the closure of hundreds of trailer and manufactured home parks around America. Landowners have cashed in by selling the property to developers. In Washington State alone, nearly 90 mobile home parks closed between 2002 and 2006. A representative from a nonprofit says "So many manufactured home parks are closing around the state that we're losing valuable affordable housing. It's more cost effective to save this housing than to build new affordable housing." This representative played a role in helping the residents organize their push to purchase the park.

This story has a happy ending for these 30 residences but the story has not ended so well in many other parks that have sold. Perhaps with this wonderful success story others will have pick up on the drive to own and the new legislation will give the park owners incentive to sell to the residence and not the developers. Again a win win for all.
About the Author
J Stromsteen has many years expertise in the finance, real estate, and insurance industry. She contributes to various websites such as First Time Home Buyer where you can find today's mortgage rates as well as a wealth of information on getting a First Time Home Buyers Loan .
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