San Antonio – The City of San Antonio plans to use part of its first housing bond to help create the city’s first mobile home park cooperative.
As part of the second round of proposals to use bond and federal dollars, city staff on Wednesday recommended helping fund a plan to purchase a South Side mobile home park and convert it into a co-op. That means the tenants of the 56-site Riverside Terrace on Mission Road would then own the park themselves and have the authority to set rents and make any improvements.
City staff recommended approving a little less than $2.9 million of the $150 million housing bond as well as $250,000 in fee waivers. The city council is scheduled to vote on the $3.1 million worth of assistance on June 8. The project’s total development cost is $5.5 million.
The nonprofit ROC USA would assist with the purchase of the mobile home park and its transition to a co-op. It currently works with 308 “resident-owned communities” in 21 states.
ROC Vice President of Acquisitions Angela Romeo said mobile and manufactured homes in the United States are a hybrid of home ownership and rentals. Residents in the parks often own their homes but have to rent the lot underneath them, which is currently the case at Riverside Terrace.
That leaves homeowners in that situation vulnerable to rent increases and also a lack of investment back into the park, she said. So the biggest benefits of a co-op are security and control.
“And so all the money that they collect in the form of lot rent go back into the community itself,” Romeo said. “They have a voice and control and say over improvements that are made. If they want to put a playground in for children or if they want to install sidewalks, they don’t have to go to a landlord and ask for them to make those improvements.”
READ MORE: Mobile home park residents form co-ops to save their homes
ROC plans to talk with residents of Riverside Terrace next week.
Romeo said this would be the first co-op mobile home park in San Antonio and only the third in Texas. In 2020, ROC announced that an Austin mobile home park had been the second to go co-op.
Neighborhood and Housing Services Department Director Veronica Garcia said this is the only mobile home park acquisition staff plan to recommend as part of the bond. If another similar project were to come along, city staff would have to recommend some of the additional bond funds set aside for pursuing other “creative projects.”
Half of the housing bond has been earmarked for building or preserving affordable rental housing. There’s also money set aside for fixing up and preserving owned homes, a small amount for building new homes, and a chunk for permanent supportive housing for people experiencing homelessness.