All Parks Alliance for Change
(also known as APAC
) is a grassroots, non-partisan, nonprofit statewide organization that serves as a vehicle for Minnesota’s 180,000 manufactured (mobile) home park residents to express their needs and concerns in their parks and in the larger community.
APAC is the statewide organization for Minnesota’s 180,000 manufactured (mobile) home park residents. The primary purpose of APAC is to educate park residents about their legal rights and to help them advocate on their own behalf. Through education, grassroots organizing and leadership development, APAC works to improve the quality of life in park neighborhoods, to protect the rights of park residents, to advance public policy change that supports safe, affordable, and stable park communities, and to preserve these vital units of affordable housing.
Manufactured Home Parks
There are about 10 million families living in manufactured homes and more than a third live in the nation’s 50,000 manufactured home communities. Two thirds of the new affordable housing developed is manufactured, with comparable quality to traditional, stick-built homes and at half the cost.
More people call parks home than all project-based subsidized housing and 90 percent are homeowners. In Minnesota, the 180,000 people who reside in manufactured home communities are, according to Housing and Urban Development (HUD) guidelines, 80 percent low to very low-income. Manufactured housing provides a vital affordable housing option as well as an opportunity for low- and moderate-income homeownership. For the cost of renting a one-bedroom apartment, many families are able to own a two or three bedroom manufactured home.
However, homeowners face a range of challenges to maintaining this housing option:
- Increasing land values and redevelopment pressures
- Lack of park reinvestment and deteriorating infrastructure
- Rising rents and home financing interest rates that reduce affordability
- Stereotypes of manufactured housing and homeowners that reduces broader support
Facts about Manufactured Home Parks in Minnesota
- Manufactured (mobile) home parks are governed by Minnesota Statute 327C and are licensed through the Minnesota Department of Health or the county.
- Manufactured homes make up 15 percent of all households, with two-thirds on home owner land and one-third on park land.
- There are over 900 licensed parks representing almost 50,000 units of affordable housing distributed among all 87 counties in Minnesota.
- There are almost 180,000 individuals residing in these manufactured home parks who are, according to Housing and Urban Development (HUD) guidelines, 80 percent low- to very-low income.
- The counties with the most parks and lots are Otter Tail (45 parks) and Anoka (4,878 lots). The cities with the most parks and lots are Bemidji (22 parks) and Blaine (2,364 lots).
- Manufactured home parks provide a vital affordable housing option ($367 mean monthly rent statewide), compared with traditional, stick-built homes and apartment units.
- There are more units of affordable housing in manufactured home parks (48,700) than there are HUD subsidized units (36,000) and Rural Development units (12,400) combined.
- Manufactured homes in parks in Minnesota are 87 percent owner occupied, thus providing an opportunity for low- to moderate-income home ownership.
- The affordability of park housing and the opportunity for home ownership can encourage long-term residency (42 percent of residents have lived in the same unit for 10 or more years) and therefore greater ties to and investment in the community.
- Parks are the leading source of independent housing for Latino migrant workers in southern Minnesota (31 percent) and Latino residents make up over 90 percent of residents in some parks.
- Residents are in a vulnerable housing situation, since they own their homes but not the land, and face a number of threats, including the park being sold or closed, needed improvements not being made, unfair or inconsistently applied park rules, profit-driven rent increases, and an inability to accumulate equity.
- Manufactured home parks are located on some of the most valuable land for commercial redevelopment and parks are steadily closing, with new parks rarely opening.
- The closure of a park can be financially devastating for residents and most often means the loss of their homes and no where to move within their means, because their home cannot be moved because of age, moving costs (averaging $3,500 rural and $5,500 metro for a single wide), shortage of available lots, or parks barring homes over 10 years old (which is 71 percent of homes).
APAC’s board of directors is comprised of individuals elected from manufactured home parks. Board members are elected by the park residents, after their park has attained chapter status by recruiting 10 percent of the households to join as dues-paying members.
APAC also has a full-time staff that includes an executive director, legal & public policy director, organizing director, three community organizers, national project coordinator, and a Democracy Project coordinator.
APAC was founded in 1980 by a group of park residents in Anoka County who initially worked to eliminate no-cause evictions, and to create new storm shelter standards. These efforts eventually lead to the establishment of a special section of state law for manufactured home parks (Minnesota Statute 327C). APAC expanded to the seven county metro area in 1989 and statewide in 1994. In 2007, APAC began a national resident organizing project to promote resident leadership, organizing and advocacy in other states and on a national level.
APAC members work with a full-time professional staff to develop and provide the following programs:
- Resident Education – In English and Spanish, APAC runs a statewide, toll-free resident hotline (866-361-APAC), conducts educational workshops, and produces consumer guides.
- Leadership Development – APAC works with homeowners to form resident associations, conduct community and statewide leadership trainings, and recruit residents to serve on our board of directors.
- Community Organizing – APAC works with homeowners to respond to management practices, rent increases, housing discrimination, homeowner displacement, and other issues.
- Community Preservation – APAC works with residents at-risk of displacement to preserve their communities through a purchase by a nonprofit, land trust, or co-op developer.
- Legal Advocacy – APAC provides legal representation for residents, including filing tenant remedies actions for communities facing unsafe or unhealthy conditions.
- Public Policy Work – APAC works with residents to advance local and state policy changes that support safe, affordable, and stable park communities.
- Racial Justice – APAC has documented and is responding to enormous disparities in resident treatment based on a person’s race, including differential treatment and conditions, residency denial, and steering practices.
- National Resident Organizing – APAC began a national resident organizing project to promote resident leadership, organizing and advocacy in other states and on a national level.
These programs have produced the following results:
- 1980: APAC and the Minnesota Manufactured Housing Association, the industry group, negotiate a plain English lease giving residents a better understanding of their rights and responsibilities.
- 1981: APAC sets a national precedent by utilizing Community Development Block Grants (CDBG) to fund park storm shelters in Blaine, Minnesota parks.
- 1982: APAC successfully lobbied the Minnesota Legislature to eliminate no cause eviction, prevent retaliatory eviction and establish storm shelter standards.
- 1983: APAC successfully lobbied the Minnesota Legislature to bar so-called 15-year clauses in leases. These clauses allowed park owners to prohibit in-park sales of older homes, forcing residents with older homes at their own expense to either demolish the home or move it out of the park. Residents now have the right to sell a home within the park regardless of the age as long as it is within compliance with park rules.
- 1986: APAC worked with the Attorney General’s office to protect the right to organize in parks, by preventing management from evicting residents for forming a resident association and peacefully distributing flyers in their parks.
- 1987: APAC successfully lobbied the Minnesota Legislature to authorize municipalities to adopt park closing ordinances to require park owners and/or purchasers to provide relocation compensation in the event of a park closing. APAC also successfully pushed a storm shelter law allowing for stricter enforcement of shelter requirements. It gives cities the authority to order park owners to construct shelters if an evacuation plan is determined to be inadequate.
- 1989: APAC successfully lobbied the Minnesota Legislature to allow cooperative and nonprofit owned parks to homestead. This tax change reduces the costs of park conversions by lowering property taxes about 65%. APAC successfully pushed for the first park closing ordinance in the city of Bloomington, Minnesota. The ordinance provided for relocation compensation in the event of a park closing. Between 1989 and 2007, APAC works to have similar municipal ordinances adopted by 21 other cities.
- 1991: APAC successfully lobbied the Minnesota Legislature for to create a right of first refusal in the event that a park is sold for redevelopment within one year of that sale. Residents or an authorized nonprofit are given 45-days to match the terms and conditions of the sale.
- 1993: Collins Park became the first park to close under a park closing ordinance. Under the terms of the Bloomington ordinance, 90 households were given relocation compensation or the fair market value for their homes.
- 1994: Working with the Legal Service Advocacy Project, APAC successfully lobbied the Minnesota Legislature to pass three bills: (1) a requirement that home repossession actions take place in the county in which the home is located; (2) a requirement that park residents receive a copy of the park's evacuation plan and a certificate of rent paid form; and (3) a prohibition on restrictive zoning against parks.
- 1995: The Bloomington park closing ordinances is successfully upheld in court, establishing a legal precedent for park closing ordinances in the state of Minnesota. The former owner of Collins Park, which closed in 1993, had sued the city over paying relocation compensation.
- 1997: APAC successfully lobbied the Minnesota Legislature to require parks to provide criteria used for evaluating prospective tenants.
- 2003: APAC launches a joint program with the North Country Cooperative Development Fund (NCDF) to preserve parks through conversion to resident-owned cooperatives.
- 2004: APAC worked with NCDF to convert Sunrise Villa in Cannon Falls into the first resident-owned manufactured home park cooperative in Minnesota and the upper Midwest. APAC worked with NCDF to promote the conversion of three other communities between 2004 and 2008.
- 2005: APAC worked with residents of Shady Lane in Bloomington on the first exercise of the right of first refusal. It is challenged by the park owner and successfully upheld in court, establishing a legal precedent for the right of first refusal in the state of Minnesota. APAC stopped passage of proposal that would have allowed park owners to break lease agreements and charge for water, even if it was already included in lot rent.
- 2006: APAC successfully lobbied the Minnesota Legislature to require that park closing notices be sent to the Minnesota Housing Finance Agency and the Minnesota Department of Health. APAC obtained a proclamation from Gov. Tim Pawlenty recognizing the vital role of manufactured home communities, honoring APAC’s work on behalf of homeowners, and declaring September 24-30, 2006 “Manufactured Home Park Week.” APAC worked with Twin Cities Public Television on the Emmy-nominated documentary, “American Dream Under Fire: Manufactured Home Park Residents Fight to Hold Ground.”
- 2007: APAC lobbied the Minnesota Legislature to establish the Minnesota Manufactured Home Relocation Trust Fund providing a statewide guarantee of relocation compensation when a park closes to 180,000 residents in over 400 cities. APAC passed the final local relocation compensation ordinances allowed under the new trust fund program. APAC successfully argued before the Minnesota Supreme Court that no park owner can prohibit residents or others from peacefully organizing, assembling, canvassing, leafleting, or otherwise expressing their right of free expression in parks.
Manufactured Home Owners Association of America (MHOAA)
- Alaska - Alaska Manufactured Home Resident Advisory Council
- Arizona - Arizona Association Manufactured Home & RV Owners (AAMHO)
- California - Golden State Manufactured-Home Owners League (GSMOL)
- California - League of California Homeowners
- California - California Mobilehomeowners Resource & Action Association (CMRAA)
- California - Manufactured Home Owners Network
- Colorado - Colorado Manufactured Home Owners Association (CMHOA)
- Connecticut - Connecticut Manufactured Home Owners Alliance (CMHA)
- Delaware - Delware Manufactured Home Owners Association (DMHOA)
- Florida - Federation of Manufactured Home Owners of Florida (FMO)
- Illinois - Mobile Home Owners' Associations of Illinois (MHOAI)
- Iowa - Mobile Home Residents' Association
- Maine - Mobile Home Association of Maine
- Massachusetts - Massachusetts Federtaion of Mobile Home Owners
- Michigan - Manufactured Homeowners Coalition of Michigan (MOCOM)
- Michigan - Manufactured Homeowners Legislative Association of Michigan (MOLA)
- Nevada - Nevada Association of Manufactured Homeowners
- Nevada - Alliance of Manufactured Home Owners in Parks
- New Hampshire - Manufactured Home Owners & Tenant Association of New Hampshire (MOTA-NH)
- New Jersey - Manufactured Home Owners Association of NJ, Inc. (MHOA)
- New York - Park Resident Homeowners Association (PRHO)
- North Carolina - North Carolina Manufactured Home Owners Association
- Ohio - Association of Manufactured Home Residents in Ohio (AMHRO)
- Oregon - Manufactured Home Owners of Oregon, Inc. / OSTA
- Oregon - Oregon Manufactured Homeowners United
- Pennsylvania - Pennsylvania Manufactured Home Owners of America
- Rhode Island - Federation of Rhode Island Mobile Home Owners (FMHORI)
- South Carolina - Manufactured Home Owners of South Carolina
- Texas - Recreational Vehicle/Mobile Home Owners Association of Texas (RVMHOAT)
- Utah - Utah Mobile Home Owners Action Group (UMHAG)
- Vermont - Vermont Mobile Home Owners Association (VMHOA)
- Washington - Association of Manufactured Home Owners (AMHO)
- Washington - Mobile Home Owners of America, Inc. (MHOA)
- Wisconsin - Wisconsin Manufactured Home Owners Association, Inc. (WIMHOA)