More than 100 senior citizens living in two Lynnwood mobile-home parks are no longer threatened with eviction, due to a decision by the...
More than 100 senior citizens living in two Lynnwood mobile-home parks are no longer threatened with eviction, due to a decision by the Snohomish County Council last week.
The council approved funding to purchase the parks and preserve them as low-income senior housing.
“This is a very cost-effective way of providing low-income housing,” said Council Chair Dave Gossett. “Almost all these people are low-income seniors, and they were going to lose their homes.”
The two properties were slated for redevelopment last year when local developer Michael Echelbarger bought them, planning to build condominiums there. But residents of the parks — Kingsbury East and Squires, near the intersection of 176th Street Southwest and 44th Avenue West — banded together in an effort to save their homes.
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They met with Echelbarger and local and state officials to discuss possible solutions. Echelbarger, who bought the properties for $6.8 million, agreed to sell the parks for $9 million to the Housing Authority of Snohomish County.
To complete the sale, the Housing Authority required state and local financial assistance. The state approved $3.5 million for the purchase in December.
Last Wednesday, the county approved the remaining funds for the purchase by a 4-0 vote. The money includes $2.5 million from county-housing trust funds, as well as a contingent-loan guarantee to bonds offered by the Housing Authority.
“It’s a big relief,” said Frank Cheeney, secretary of Save Our Seniors Homeowner’s Association, the group formed by park residents to lobby against the parks’ closure. “[We] are very pleased.”
The county’s decision comes as mobile-home parks throughout the Puget Sound region are closing due to development pressure.
In Snohomish County, at least nine other mobile-home parks were threatened with closure between January of 2006 and December of this year, according to data from the state Department of Community, Trade and Economic Development.
Because many mobile homes are too old to move, and few spaces are available in other parks, evicted homeowners often must demolish their homes.
Some displaced seniors may eventually be able to move into vacated spaces at Kingsbury East and Squires, though no spaces are currently empty, said Bob Davis, executive director of the Housing Authority.
There is presently an eight-family waiting list for a space, he said.
Naila Moreira: 425-745-7845 or firstname.lastname@example.org