MHCP is a Washington nonprofit corporation that purchases, renovates, and operates mobile home/manufactured housing communities as affordable housing.
Why MH Community Preservation is Important
Mobile/manufactured housing communities provide an increasingly rare opportunity for households earning less than 80% of median income to have an equity interest and the independence of owning their own home: a modest version of the American dream. In the Puget Sound region, for thousands of mobile/manufactured homeowners whose homes are on leased spaces, the biggest risk is redevelopment of their communities and the loss of the place for their home (which can reduce its value to zero).
A Collaborative Housing Model
MHCP operates on a community land trust model by acquiring and holding land to provide secure affordable access to land and housing for community residents. This model is more collaborative than the usual non-profit rental housing arrangement. The MH and RV homeowners not only bring “housing capital” to the project, they also are responsible for their own home maintenance. The homeowners pay their own gas and electric utilities, personal property tax and insurance. Water and sewer are metered and billed to each household. The communities contract for garbage service.
Like little villages, each community has (and is responsible for maintaining) its own roads, street lighting, and the community water/sewer/electrical system. The communities also have common space that includes community/laundry buildings, and picnic and play areas. The MHs and RVs each have their own yard and parking space. The size of the yard varies with the space size and the size of the unit installed on the space. In this sense, MH communities are similar to single-family or cottage development.
MHCP is an open membership organization that includes individuals from the wider community and all adult resident leaseholders. MHCP is governed by a 5 to 14-member board of directors. Each MHCP community has the right to elect one of its residents to the Board at the time of the annual meeting.
MHCP History & Direction
MHCP was established July 1, 1992 as a result of a King County’s "Mobile Home Pilot Conversion Project," which explored ways for tenants themselves, or for nonprofit agencies involving tenants, to purchase and preserve existing mobile home parks.
In order to provide for a space rent that accommodates very low and extremely low income households, MHCP assembles a financing package that includes both traditional bank financing and public funding to purchase and renovate the communities. The public financing component creates mortgage costs that are relatively low, and the benefit of this is to allow for less than market rate rents which are adjusted depending on the income category of each household. In Washington State, there is also a property tax exemption available to non-profits proportional to the number of households in the community that earn less than 50% of the area median income.
MHCP currently owns 5 communities in King County, Washington: Vue (47 households), Paradise (40 households), Avon Villa (96 households), Empire View (51 households), and Bonel (108 households). Recently the agency has taken on a consulting and operations roles at Wonderland (109 households), a community owned by the King County Housing Authority, and Hidden Village (20 households). MHCP is actively seeking to preserve more communities through acquisition and rehabilitation, and assisting other non-profit organizations to do the same.