Posts Tagged ‘mobile home’

Photo: Manufactured Housing Village.
Willow Pines mobile home park in Kaysville, Utah. An empathetic woman makes the manufactured housing parks she manages truly homes.

At a manufactured housing park in Utah, as Cathy Free reports at the Washington Post, one woman is making a huge difference in residents’ sense of security.

“Pat Blake, who manages two mobile home communities in Utah, began to notice some of the children who lived there seemed hungry after parents came to her to inquire about food assistance. Blake was one of seven siblings raised by a single mom. She knew hunger personally.

“She started using some of her own money to pick up extra jars of peanut butter, cans of soup and bread at the grocery store. Then she let her residents know to come to her office and help themselves.

“ ‘It doesn’t matter whether a child lives in a mobile home or in a fancy apartment — they all deserve to be fed,’ she said, explaining that there are 120 families in one community and 45 in another at the mobile home parks in Davis County. …

“With rent increases hitting most mobile home communities in recent years, more families are finding it difficult to afford groceries and housing, she said.

“ ‘I started bringing food in for people, just a little at a time,’ said Blake, who has been managing the two parks since 2020. “And then I realized that I had a huge room behind my office that wasn’t being used, and I could do more.’

“Blake, 79, lives in a mobile home in Apple Acres, one of the communities that she manages. She said she asked a friend to help install some shelves in the large room at the second mobile home park, Willow Pines, so she could turn it into a pantry.

“Then she stepped it up a level. She contacted the Bountiful Food Pantry, which collects donated food and distributes it throughout Davis County, including in Fruit Heights City, where she lives. They started coming twice a month to offer groceries to residents.

“Blake stocked the shelves of her pantry with some of the donated items, and she told her tenants they could come by on Thursdays to pick up any extra staples they needed.

She used her savings to buy a refrigerator to hold meat, cheese, eggs and gallons of milk, she said.

“Almost three years later, she said residents at Apple Acres and Willow Pines now have enough to eat, regardless of their family size or financial circumstances. …

“Linda Wilson lives at Willow Pines and is among those who have felt the pinch of rising food and housing costs. Three years ago, Wilson, 75, took in her daughter and three grandchildren when they were going through a difficult time, she said. They are still living with her in her mobile home. …

“ ‘I’ve lived in several mobile home parks over the years, and I’ve never run across a manager like Pat,’ she said. ‘She helped me with some rental assistance, and she takes the time to get to know every resident here and what their needs are.’

“Before Blake became manager of Willow Pines, Maribel Urquizo said she often struggled to buy groceries for her three children in the week before her husband, who works with granite countertops, received his regular paycheck.

“ ‘It was a little hard sometimes to make ends meet,’ said Urquizo, 29. ‘Now we can go to Pat’s office, and she gives us what we need to get us through. Milk, eggs, snacks for the kids — she has it all.’ …

“Blake said she understands the struggles of many of her tenants because she’s been there. She dropped out of school at 13 to help look after her siblings and bring in extra money from babysitting kids in her neighborhood, she said, noting that she eventually received her high school diploma at age 29. …

“Besides keeping food in her residents’ refrigerators, Blake said she makes sure they have Christmas presents every year and that children have backpacks and school supplies.

“The families she helps often thank her by bringing her casseroles, cookies and jars of salsa made with the free groceries they pick up every other week.

“She said she can go to sleep content at night knowing that nobody at Apple Acres and Willow Pines is hungry.

“ ‘Needing groceries is nothing to be ashamed of,’ she said. ‘We could all use a boost sometimes. These families need someone, and I’m happy that I can be that person to help. More at the Post, here.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t also mention that protection from rising rents at mobile parks is often best tackled by joining with neighbors to become a Resident Owned Community. Read about how to do that here.

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