Reporter Jason Cruz might want to consider checking in with other elected officials and the homeowners themselves, before offering a one-sided story regarding the fate of owners of manufactured homes who reside at the Firs mobile home park in SeaTac. (Clock runs out in Olympia, March 16, 2018.)
Mr. Cruz ought to have highlighted two other bills that would have done much more for the homeowners. For instance, HB 1514 (Rep. June Robinson) would have required landlords to provide 18-months notice of closing their manufactured housing communities — some real time for the homeowners to prepare for their future.
Additionally, HB 1798 (Rep. Joan McBride) would have provided nonprofit housing agencies and housing authorities an opportunity to purchase communities that were being sold. This bill would have opened the door for King County Housing Authority, the Low Income Housing Institute, or some other eligible organization, to negotiate a purchase and sale agreement with the landlord. Each of these bills, if passed, would have been of great benefit to Firs home owners. Councilmember Peter Kwon and the SeaTac City Council did not support either bill.
Additionally, there is every possibility that the homeowners will be able to stay at the Firs. The city’s own relocation ordinance requires that all 70 homeowners and their families (200 people in all) be relocated to acceptable, affordable, and sustainable housing. Until they are successfully relocated, the Firs will stay open, under the city’s laws. The Homeowner’s Association is working hard to pull together the funding needed to purchase the Firs and thanks to the impressive work of Rep. Mia Gregerson, there is already $2.5 million set aside in the state’s capital budget to help with the acquisition of the Firs.
I have worked with these homeowners. If they are relocated, they will still lose their homes and all their equity, since there is nowhere else affordable to move their homes. In addition, their homes will be destroyed and neither the current land owner, nor any future developer, is required to pay one dime toward the cost of relocation.
At a time when this area, including SeaTac where the Firs is located, is facing a shortage of affordable housing, protections for both homeowners and landowners must be equitably enforced, and displaced homeowners must be made whole.
— Velma Veloria