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Council Member Renteria seeks amenities for mobile home parks

Thursday, October 13, 2016 by Syeda Hasan

Mobile homes are often referred to as Austin’s most affordable housing. But mobile home parks don’t always offer amenities, such as green space, for residents. One City Council member is hoping to change that.

When Council Member Pio Renteria visited some of his constituents at a mobile home park in Montopolis, he was shocked by some of the things he saw.

“When I went down there, I said, my goodness, there’s no rec centers,” Renteria said. “There’s nothing there for the kids. They’re just running around. And when I inquired with one of my policy aides, she said, ‘Yeah, the laundry room is the recreational center.’”

Renteria is looking to change that situation, not just for his District 3 constituents but for mobile home residents throughout the city. He wants to ensure that families have places to gather and that kids can play safely in their neighborhoods.

Renteria has penned an ordinance that would require all new mobile home developments to include a playground and at least one other recreational space. It would also require space for a community garden in new and existing communities.

So, just how many mobile homes are there in Austin? It turns out that’s a tough question to answer.

“One of our responsibilities is to record ownership on manufactured homes, but we do so upon application by the owner,” said Joe Garcia of the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs. “So our records only reflect the number of homes that are titled by the owner. Some of the records might not be current if somebody purchased a home in years past and decided never to title it. We wouldn’t have record of it.”

But looking at the numbers that are available, there are 22,760 mobile homes registered in Travis County and, according to Renteria, many more are in development.

“There are huge mobile home parks now being built all along the Eastern Crescent, on the border of the city,” he said. “This is a little urgent now because there are so many in the pipeline.”

Council is set to take up the mobile home resolution at today’s meeting.

This story was produced as part of the Austin Monitor’s reporting partnership with KUT. Photo by Jaggery and licensed for reuse under a Creative Commons license.

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