Financial Assistance

What state/local financial assistance is available to low-income mobilehome owners? Some programs that provide financial assistance to low-income or senior park residents include:

  • C.A.R.E. Utility Assistance: Low-income residents of master-meter mobilehome parks may qualify annually for a 20% discount on their electric or gas bills through the California Alternate Rates for Energy Program (care). For more information, check with your park management or the local gas or electric utility company listed in your phone directory.
  • Mobilehome Rehabilitation: Loans or grants are available to low-income mobilehome owners through the Department of Housing and Community Development’s CalHome program to make specified repairs on their mobilehomes. Although not all jurisdictions participate, the funds are channeled through qualified local government housing or non-profit agencies. For more information, check with your city or county housing department, authority or commission.
  • Mobilehome Park Resident Ownership Program (MPROP): On a limited basis, this program provides loans to resident organizations and non-profit organizations and 3% simple interest loans to low-income homeowners for costs involving the resident or non-profit purchase of a mobilehome park. For more information about the MPROP process and requirements, call the Department of Housing and Community Development at 916.323.3178, or at www.hcd.ca.gov/fa/mprop.
  • Section 8 Housing Assistance: Rent subsidies may be available to eligible low-income mobilehome residents who live in mobilehome parks. This program is funded by the federal government but administered by local housing agencies. Section 8 allocations are often full and many jurisdictions have waiting lists of a year or more. Not all mobilehome park owners accept Section 8 vouchers. For more information, check with your city or county housing department, authority or commission.

Resource: What Every Mobile Home Owner Should Know, published by the Senate Select Committee on Manufactured Home Communities

Loneliness: A Big Issue for Seniors

Many seniors and older adults feel disconnected from society and lose relationships as they get older. There are several of reasons for isolation in the lives of seniors. For example, retired individuals and couples can choose to move into a senior-only community, but their new home is little ways from their children and friends, thus getting less visitors throughout the years.

According to an article by AARP, a study by the University of California, San Francisco, found that about 43% of adults older than 65 felt lonely. The article quotes other studies that prove that feelings of loneliness and isolation can lead to serious health issues, and even increase the risk of mortality. For example, there are instances where after one of the elderly couple passes away, the other one “follows” and passes too.

The article also quotes the director of the University of Chicago Center for Cognitive & Social Neurosciences, who stated that loneliness is not a permanent feeling, and should be treated like physical pain or hunger. By viewing loneliness as a temporary state of mind, seniors can “treat themselves” by being proactive in their daily lives to maintain old relationships and establish new ones.

If you are a senior and are looking for ways to reconnect with society, consider the following ideas: visit or volunteer at your local community centers (senior center, animal shelter, youth center, public library, etc.), reconnect with your old friends or coworkers, or reach out to your neighbors and (extended) family. Interacting with others will give you a sense of presence in your community, and can lead to the establishment of meaningful relationships. Don’t hesitate to call your local office on aging to get more ideas on community activities and events.

If you know any seniors, whether they are your family, friends or neighbors, it helps to pay them a visit every now and then. Invite them over for tea or dinner, ask them to tell you their life stories, go on light walks, or even run errands together. Chances are, you will gain new knowledge and perspectives by spending time with seniors. Keep in mind that even small interactions or gestures can go a long way.

Reference: http://www.aarp.org/health/conditions-treatments/info-2017/isolation-loneliness-impacts-seniors-fd.html

Did You Know…

…that there are simple solutions to your pest problems? As the weather continues to be hot during the summer, your home can be a target to various types of pests. Calling pest control to can be costly, although it should be considered as an option if your home has a serious pest problem. But if you have a minor pest problem, you might be able to try a few DIY (do-it-yourself) remedies to keep your home protected.

The following are a few solutions and remedies for the pests that visit your home, published in the book Who knew? 10,001 Easy Solutions to Everyday Problems.

  1. Silverfish – put sliced lemons down where they usually appear and replace with fresh lemons every few days to keep them away.
  2. Cockroach – to get rid of them, chop cucumber skins and bay leaves, mix together, and spread around the areas where they appear.
  3. Mice/Rats – fill in any openings or gaps with steel wool, since it will kill the mice by causing internal bleeding when they ingest it. If you are using the traditional mouse traps, try using peanut butter instead of cheese, since they can’t pick it up and run away. If you don’t feel comfortable killing them, use caulk or baking soda in the crevices and hiding spots around your home.
  4. Wasps – fill a wide brim jar with 1 cup sugar and 1½ cup of water. It will attract the wasps in the water, where they will drown. If not, open the windows and turn off the lights, and wait for them to fly outside. Do not panic and try to swat them to avoid getting stung.

According to a post on mobile home best control by Mobile Home Living, you can use moth balls around your home to keep away pests from entering. The author also states that the skirting of your mobile home can act as a barrier, as long as it is installed properly and doesn’t have any holes or openings. Quality skirting can protect your mobile home, even though it is usually made of plastic.

Sources: http://mobilehomeliving.org/mobile-home-pest-control/

Who knew? 10,001 Easy Solutions to Everyday Problems by Bruce Lubin & Jeanne Bossolina-Lubin

Phone Calls: Do you know who’s really calling?

If you pick up your phone from an unknown number often, chances are, you have been contacted by some type of scam or sales call. It’s easy to hang up when it’s a pre-recorded message, but what do you do when the person on the other line is claiming to be calling from the IRS, US Citizenship and Immigration Services, or Medicare? What if they are calling from a well-known charity, such as Make-a-Wish? Your first instinct won’t be to hang up right away, so you might stay on the line to hear what they have to say. It may be harmless to do so, but what do you do when they say that you have a payment due, or asks for your Social Security number? You might feel pressured to give out your information, but always remember that scammers try to get your money in the quickest way possible. No one from the government, a charity organization, or even a tech support company should be calling you first and asking for your payment or any other personal information. In addition, if a caller says that he or she is simply calling to confirm your name and address – hang up immediately. These types of calls can come from a live phone operator or a recorded message to confirm your personal information.

Make sure to visit The Federal Trade Commission’s Consumer Information blog page to read about the recent scam alerts. The following are a few tips from the FTC blog to keep in mind when you receive unknown phone calls.

  • The federal government would contact you by US Mail, not by phone or email first.
  • Federal agencies would not ask or demand your personal information over the phone.
  • Scammers may threaten you to give up a payment information to pressure you.
  • Do not trust a caller who asks for your bank account information or asks to wire money over the phone.
  • Free prize or winner? It’s a scam.
  • Hang up immediately if someone is calling to “just to confirm” personal information. Just because they recite your name and address, doesn’t mean that they are trustworthy.

Reference: https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/scam-alerts

Stay Cool in Your Home

Temperatures are rising everywhere this summer, and in some places, it is unbearable without using the air conditioner. Using it often will result in high utility bills, but it is also important to keep your home under a tolerable temperature. If you are looking for ways to stay cool by not using the AC, consider adopting the following methods into your lifestyle.

During the day, close your windows and do your best to keep the sunlight from coming into your home. You might be tempted to leave the window open when there’s a breeze, but you won’t benefit from the breeze if it’s warm. In addition, avoid using appliances and lights that generate a lot of heat so that the inside of your home will be lower than outside.

Switch your bed sheets to lightweight cotton, since it is a more breathable material, and will promote ventilation and airflow in your bedroom. Choose lightweight cotton for not only your sheets, but also for your clothes.

Make your own ice packs or use chilled towels, and even take a cold shower to get some instant relief from the heat. You can also put a pan or bowl of ice in front of a fan to create a make-shift “air conditioner.”

Remember to stay hydrated. Make sure your body get enough fluids, but avoid drinking caffeine or alcohol, since they will leave you dehydrated.

If you still feel like your home is unbearable, try spending some time in buildings with AC, such as your local public library or senior/community centers.

Resource: http://newyork.cbslocal.com/2012/08/01/8-ways-to-cool-down-your-home-without-air-conditioning/

Mobilehome and Manufactured Homes Sales

Who handles the sales of mobilehomes and manufactured homes?

Only dealer-brokers licensed by the Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) handle sales of new manufactured homes and mobilehomes. These new homes come with a one-year warranty from the manufacturer, but the warranty usually does not cover transit damage and may not apply to faulty installation. Used mobilehomes do not come with a warranty and may be sold by dealers, real estate agents, or the homeowner, who must provide the buyer with a resale or transfer disclosure statement (TDS), as mentioned previously. Complaints about mobilehome dealers should be directed to the Mobilehome Ombudsman at 800.952.5275, or ombudsman@hcd.ca.gov.

What if there is an issue with my new mobile home?

If there is a safety or construction issue with your new mobile home, you must notify the manufacturer, retailer, or installer. If the problem is not resolved, you may be able to use the HUD Manufactured Home Dispute Resolution Program. This program aims to provide timely resolution (of eligible disputes) between manufacturers, retailers and installer of manufactured homes regarding the responsibility of correction or repairs of defects in manufactured homes.

There are a few eligibility requirements to participate in this program. For example, the owner of the mobile home needs to report any issues to the manufacturer, retailer, installer, State Administrative Agency, or HUD within one year after the date of installation. In addition, not all States participate in this program, due to some administering their own dispute resolution programs.

If you are eligible to participate in the program, you can submit a request for dispute resolution in one of five ways: by email, phone, fax, mail, or online. The program outlines key information to include in your request, if you are not using the online form to submit the request. Make sure to visit their website to see if you are eligible, and read through all the instructions in order for your request to be processed. In addition, you can watch a very informative video about the program on their website.
Resources: http://www.huddrp.net/

Video Link: http://www.huddrp.net/video/

HUD Administered Dispute Resolution Program:

571-882-2928, info@huddrp.net

 

Tiny Homes vs. Mobile Homes

Tiny homes are a trend that has been getting more attention in the past few years, especially by the media and some social media sites. If you have ever seen a TV show about tiny homes, they usually start out by featuring a couple that is trying to downsize, and are looking for a more affordable living situation. They state their budget and they explore different samples of tiny homes. But if you look at these homes, you may notice that some of them are on wheels, and some of them have skirts like a mobile home. So what are the main differences between a manufactured home and a tiny home?

Tiny homes can be mobile, but they can also be built on a traditional foundation. An article published on The Tiny Life, Tiny Houses, Tiny Living states that an advantage of having your tiny home on a trailer or a wheel is that it allows you to get around some building codes since it takes the shape of a trailer.

A big difference is in the looks. A mobile home usually comes in a few sizes; single-wide, double-wide, triple-wide, and even two stories. You will notice when you look at these tiny homes, that they are very unique. There is a lot of thought put into the design of a tiny home; to make it look aesthetically pleasing while maximizing every inch of space. Many tiny homes have interesting features such as a fold-out dining table, pull-out couch or chairs, pull-out ladders or stairs, and hidden compartments for storage. But such intricate design and output usually means higher costs to build a tiny home compared to a mobile home.

Mobile homes and tiny homes are options for affordable living, but it’s ultimately up to the resident’s lifestyle to live in either types of homes. You would have to be willing to sacrifice some space to live in a uniquely designed tiny home. Or maybe you are the type that values space more than the aesthetics or uniqueness of your home.

Resource: http://thetinylife.com/tiny-house-vs-mobile-home-trailer/

Resident-Owned Parks

Can residents buy their rental Park and convert it to resident ownership?

There are an estimated one hundred and fifty resident-owned mobilehome parks (rops) in California, the majority of which have been purchased by the residents and converted to some form of resident ownership. In a rop, residents have a voice in setting park policies and controlling park rents. Since residents own their spaces or shares in the park property, they have an incentive to maintain the park in good condition. Resident owners also gain equity on their interest in the park, which they can cash in on when they sell. But the conversion process can be complicated, as park owners are often reluctant to sell to residents, residents may not be able to agree to purchase the park, and initial costs of purchasing may be challenging. The state and some local governments may be able to provide some loans or other limited financial assistance. More information can be found in the booklet A Guide to Mobilehome Park Purchases by Residents, found at www.dre.ca.gov.

Resource: What Every Mobile Home Owner Should Know, published by the Senate Select Committee on Manufactured Home Communities.

How is my mobilehome taxed?

Mobilehomes manufactured and sold new prior to July 1, 1980 are usually subject to an annual state vehicle license fee (VLF). Mobilehomes manufactured on or after that date and those permanently fixed to the land are subject to local property taxation. The sale of new mobilehomes and the resale of used mobilehomes subject to the VLF are also subject to a sales tax. Homeowners may have to pay property taxes on their mobilehome accessories (carports, cabanas, etc.), depending on the value of the accessories. In newly developed parks or spaces, new buyers may also have to pay a school impact fee. Mobilehome owners in parks may also be subject to a rent ‘pass through’ of certain government fees, such as rent control space fees or park inspection fees.

Resource: What Every Mobile Home Owner Should Know, published by the Senate Select Committee on Manufactured Home Communities. 

Mobilehome vs. Manufactured Home

Are you aware of the difference between a mobile home and a manufactured home? They sound interchangeable but they actually have two different definitions, according to the California Health and Safety Code. Read the two definitions below and see if you had the correct knowledge of the two:

HSC 18007: “Manufactured Home”

Means a structure, that was constructed on or after June 15, 1976, is transportable in one or more sections, is eight body feet or more in width, or 40 body feet or more in length in the traveling mode, or when erected on site, is 320 or more square feet, is built on a permanent chassis and designed to be used as a single-family dwelling with or without a foundation when connected to the required utilities, and includes the plumbing, heating, air conditioning , and electrical systems contained therein. Manufactured home includes any structure that meets all the requirements of this paragraph and with the National Manufactured Housing Construction and Safety Standards Act of 1974.

HSC 18008: “Mobilehome”

Means a structure, that was constructed prior to June 15, 1976, is transportable in one or more sections, is eight body feet or more in width, or 40 body feet or more in length in the traveling mode, or when erected on site, is 320 or more square feet, is built on a permanent chassis and designed to be used as a single-family dwelling with or without a foundation system when connected to the required utilities, and includes the plumbing, heating, air conditioning, and electrical systems contained therein. Mobilehome includes any structure that meets all the requirements of this paragraph and complies with the state standard s for mobilehomes in effect at the time of construction.

Now that you are aware of the difference between the two terms, will you be able to identify the home you or your neighbors live in?

Resource: California Department of Housing and Community Development, and California Legislative Information

http://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/codes_displayText.xhtml?lawCode=HSC&division=13.&title=&part=2.&chapter=1.&article=