Housing authority to bid on Whitehaven Mobile Home Park

Patty Johnson returned to her home in Whitehaven just a couple of weeks ago and says she was shocked to learn that the mobile home fleet had been sold and could potentially lose her home. If the Yampa Valley Housing Authority’s offer were accepted, she and about 70 other residents would avoid that fate.
Spencer Powell / steamship pilot and today

The atmosphere at Whitehaven Mobile Home Park was gloomy in August when residents learned that someone had made an offer on the land beneath their homes.

“Everyone was scared because there is nowhere else to live in Steamboat,” said Jose Lopez, a resident of Whitehaven.

Many Whitehaven residents feared the worst: the unknown buyer would raise taxes on the lot or redevelop the land, displacing the 70 or so people who live there.

But during a special meeting on Thursday, September. On the 22nd, board members of the Yampa Valley Housing Authority agreed to offer $ 3.125 million, corresponding to the previous offer, plus $ 1, to purchase Whitehaven Mobile Home Park on behalf of the park’s residents.

If the purchase is successful, the real estate authority will act as interim park administrator while working with residents to upgrade the park’s infrastructure and ultimately transform it into a resident-owned cooperative.

The money was raised through a mix of low-interest loans and large and small donations to the Yampa Valley Community Foundation’s Routt County Workforce Housing Preservation Fund.which has so far raised $ 750,000.

The Yampa Valley Housing Authority plans to keep park lot rates unchanged by balancing their finances, similar to how the authority has managed Fish Creek Mobile Home Park since buying it in 2007.

“The big picture for us is that we are able to pay for operations, maintenance and debt service without raising rents,” said Jason Peasley, director of the real estate authority.

He also encouraged the Steamboat community to continue being generous.

“There’s still a little bit of philanthropy needed in this space,” Peasley said. “There is still a very large infrastructure investment that needs to be made in this property.”

In addition, the Workforce Housing Preservation Fund still accepts donations, which can help pay for improvements to Whitehaven’s infrastructure or even assist other communities in similar situations to Whitehaven.

Connecting Whitehaven to the city’s water supply is one of the largest infrastructure projects the community needs. Aged pipes feeding the well water in Whitehaven have been a problem for a long time.

“The water pressure is intermittent,” said Brad Leister, another Whitehaven resident. “I certainly don’t drink water. It tastes fun.

Leister was rebuilding part of his home when he was informed that he could lose it. Now, as he nears completing thousands of dollars worth of renovations, Thursday’s news gives him some comfort.

“They all look relaxed,” Leister said.

Brad Leister can continue making improvements to his home in peace if the Yampa Valley Housing Authority’s offer to purchase Whitehaven Mobile Home Park is accepted.
Spencer Powell / steamship pilot and today

Due to the Colorado Mobile Home Park Act, Whitehaven residents were given 90 days to make a competing offer after being notified of the potential sale.

The community mobilized quickly and, with the help of the Yampa Valley Housing Authority, the Integrated Community, and the Yampa Valley Community Foundation, they were able to raise money and make a solid defense of their homes.

For most mobile home parks, including Whitehaven, the land and homes are owned separately. In many cases, when the land is sold, the owners of the mobile homes are told that they must leave the property. However, as so many homes in Whitehaven are decades old, towing them away is not an option and the units should probably be confiscated.

“Going from the potential of losing our homes 45 days ago to knowing we can keep our homes and have a future in Steamboat is indescribable,” said Jake Dombrowski, a Whitehaven resident who, along with his girlfriend Kim Osterhout, was instrumental. in the organization I help for their neighborhood.

“Words can’t describe how grateful we are,” Dombrowski said.

The real estate authority intends to conclude an agreement with the owner of the lot soon, but in the event that a higher offer arrives, the officials of the real estate authority believe they can exercise a right of first refusal which will be provided for by an amendment to the Mobile Home Park Act which will take effect on October 18 1.

“We can go through all the rotations that we should go through on October 18th. 1, Peasley said. “But if we can reach an agreement with the landowner in the next couple of days, the process will be a lot easier for everyone.”

For Patty Johnson, who has lived in Whitehaven for nearly 30 years, the good news ends what has been a tough test.

Johnson was in Denver to care for her ailing mother for about seven months. After her mother died a couple of weeks ago, Johnson said she came home and caught up with the situation in her community.

“I’ve lost a lot,” Johnson said.

She said the housing authority’s decision is a relief and she hopes to make improvements to her unit now that she is more confident she will be able to maintain it.

“I was sweating like that,” Johnson said.

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