Huntington Beach program will help very low-income mobile home residents

It may not be what Huntington Beach’s frustrated senior mobile home residents want, but it could bring relief to the extremely low-income people among them. For the moment.

The Huntington Beach City Council voted unanimously Tuesday night to approve and authorize the creation of a tenant-based rental assistance program for mobile home residents.

The city already operates such a program for individuals and families who are homeless or at risk of homelessness. The new program will be funded with $391,654 of unspent funds RESIDENCE funds through the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

“I know this isn’t a panacea for the rent increases our mobile home folks are looking for, but it potentially buys us time for those in dire need who are going to be down the street with rent increases. “, City Councilman Dan Kalmick said.

In a presentation, Huntington Beach Community Development Director Ursula Luna-Reynosa estimated the program would provide about $1,100 in monthly assistance to residents of very low-income seniors’ mobile homes. It could help up to 30 households for a year, but its availability beyond that is unknown.

Those favored for the program are veterans, those in an extremely low income bracket (30% or less of the region’s median income), and those who pay 50% or more of their income for rent.

Bob Harold and Suzan Neil, in red shirts and residents of Skandia, wait to speak at a June town council meeting.

(Don Leach / staff photographer)

For a one-person household, extremely low earners would be those earning up to $28,500. For a two-person household, that number could be as high as $32,550.

City staff plan to accept applications for four weeks, Luna-Reynosa said, and will work with the senior center on outreach. The initial eligibility list will be determined by lottery.

“I think we can all agree that it’s not enough,” Councilor Kim Carr said. “We certainly need to do more, but we felt like we had an opportunity to use funds that may not have been used for this.”

Senior mobile home residents who have felt the pinch of their rising rents are pushing for a rent stabilization ordinance exclusion from City Charter Section 803 that would only apply to mobile home residents.

The Mobile Homes Advisory Board voted 5-4 in April to send an exclusion to the board for consideration, but the board did not move the idea forward. Supporters now plan to seek signatures to get an exclusion on the ballot in 2024.

Carol Rohr, president of the Skandia Mobile Country Club HOA and chair of the HB Mobile Home Resident Coalition, called Tuesday’s approval a “band-aid.”

“While many in my HOA and the coalition feel this is a good first step in addressing the injustices we face from predatory park owners, it is still an attempt symbolic of offsetting skyrocketing rents for space in our mobile home. community,” Rohr said during public comments to the council on Tuesday evening. “This assistance program must be guaranteed for at least the next two years until an amendment to the city charter can be passed and real protections put in place to protect our interests in 2024. The question of Whether this program should be adopted for a longer period will depend on the outcome of our planned initiative.

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Casey J. Nelson