At their August 20th meeting, Fullerton City Council unanimously approved up to $350,000 to establish a Tenant Based Rental Assistance Program (TBRA) in senior mobile home parks funded through the federal HOME Program funds for one year, with the ability for an extension in one-year increments.
This program was proposed to assist senior residents of Rancho La Paz (and other senior mobile home parks) who are facing extreme rent increases after the park was sold earlier this year to John Saunders. At the last meeting, council voted not to implement a temporary rent hike moratorium, so this TBRA is meant to offer alternative assistance.
A large majority of mobile home residents in Fullerton are seniors on a fixed income. Although the mobile home unit is owned by the resident, in most of the parks, residents must pay space rent monthly. For many of the mobile home owners, more than 50% of their monthly income is used for housing costs.
In 2008 a TBRA Program was created to assist those mobile home owners who paid more than 50% of their income for housing costs, including space rent. After several years, due to lack of funding, the program was discontinued.
First priority will be given to seniors at or below 50% of area median income (AMI), who are paying more than 50% of their monthly gross income for housing costs.
It is anticipated that approximately fifty to sixty households can be assisted over the next year.
These funds may not work in conjunction with the new park owners’ private “safety net” subsidy program.
“I think this is a good option for mobile home park owners, especially seniors who are the most vulnerable in our community,” said councilmmber Ahmad Zahra, who originally proposed the item. “This is a good program that I’d like to see us really continue as long as there’s the need for it.”
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