Monday, October 06, 2014

1392 Trailer Treasures Trashed

It won’t be the same around here on Halloween this year.  The most elaborately decorated homes were in two of the three recently closed mobile home parks.

You’ll be able to say the same for Christmas.  No beautiful lights this year.

Most if not all of the residents have found new quarters.  They call them permanent, but permanent lasts just so long.

There are all kinds of help programs in place.  There are all kind of relocation laws.  But even with that, there are families who had nowhere to go.

The mobile home parks are mini communities, each with its own personality.  People there are often lifetimers… sometimes multigenerational lifetimers.

But times and values change.  And so, these grounds get sold. The residents were pretty much invisible people to start. Now they’re *really* invisible.

There's a lot of talk about affordable housing, but very little action.  We hear terms thrown about like so much confetti:  affordable. Mixed use. Multi use.  Fifty different kinds of zoning.

So no replacement housing. But there are hundreds of newly built or soon-to-be-finished “regular” apartments, places few can afford.

You can understand the economics of the situation. But what’s hard -- maybe impossible -- to understand is how none of the talk about building low cost or subsidized housing -- even if it's warehousing -- translates into action.

Not in my backyard!

The men, women and children who lived in the trailer parks are critical to the general economy of their areas.  Low wage workers in restaurants and stores, for the most part.  Many without cars, and therefore basically unable to get to work unless they walk. It’s tough to walk from a miles-away shack to a bottom-fish wage job at the big box store.

These are people, people.  Same as you and me. Many from outside the parks look down on them. Most of the down-lookers never met a resident except maybe checking out of a store where so many work as cashiers and sweepers and stock men and women.

Although it's shrinking, many cities and towns still have a fairly good supply of well located vacant property for development.  Some of it is priced so high it’s more profitable to let it sit vacant than to build on it.


Shrapnel:

--Once every 33 years the Highest Holy Day in the Jewish calendar and a similar holiday in the Muslim calendar fall on the same day and this is one of those years. 10-4-2014.  Both Holidays command fasting.

--This year, we-all are joined by some Christians. October fourth was the feast day of St. Francis of Assisi.  Hearty appetite.  Now, we can all get back to killing one another.

--As the nation eagerly awaits the start of the new Supreme Court term, constitutional scholars are wondering which of our rights the justices plan to trample next.  Among the nation building issues to be considered: broken taillight laws in North Carolina… and document shredding laws in the case of a fisherman supposedly hiding undersized fish by throwing them overboard.  Can’t wait for these decisions.

I’m Wes Richards. My opinions are my own but you’re welcome to them. ®
Please address comments to wesrichards@gmail.com
© WJR 2014

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