Wednesday, June 15, 2005

End for mobile homes?

The better part of 2005 remains for the Blaine-Ketchum Housing Authority to perfect plans for affordable housing on property it is buying at North Fork, six miles north of Ketchum.

Those plans should include specific provisions for occupants of 42 dwellings, mostly mobile homes, now on the North Fork Trailer Park property.

Otherwise, they might well find themselves evicted because they lack income for the planned housing and/or will be shunted aside as construction begins on permanent housing.

This would be the equivalent of taking one step forward by developing new affordable housing, then one step backward in evicting trailer park residents.

Families and individuals who occupy mobile homes represent a significant group of workers in the Wood River Valley. Yet, parks for mobile homes are vanishing, and affordable housing seems geared sharply toward incomes of professional and commercial employees.

The fate of the 42 North Fork dwellings has been outlined by the Housing Authority, which plans to build small bungalows there.

The authority's good intentions to spend $3 million to acquire and then develop the property thus far lack clarity in what the future holds for the present residents.

Affordable housing must be inclusive so as not to exclude whole classes of medium- to low-income workers from the county, workers whose skills are just as essential in the area's economy and for whom mobile homes may be a good option.

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