In the Fall of 2021, RISC members living in mobile homes led and attended house meetings, and shared a problem that is both a housing issue, and an environmental justice issue. They talked about living in extreme heat in the summer, and extreme cold in the winter. They talked about how water has crept into their homes from storms and flooding over the years, to the point that roofs, walls and floors are collapsing. They talked about how rodents come and go as they please, through holes that are the result of the rotting floor.
To understand the problem best - view this video RISC members living in mobile homes put together for our Nehemiah Action 2023.
We voted as an organization to begin work on this problem that Fall. And soon thereafter we began our research. We discovered that there are 7 mobile home parks in the city of Richmond, with approximately 1,000 mobile homes. Likely 4,000 - 5,000 people are living in these homes. We came across a study conducted by the Manufactured Homes Community Coalition, which enlightened us to various facets of the problem.
We identified a mobile home repair and replacement program as our solution. Such a program would be modeled after existing critical home repair programs (such as those operated by Project Homes, Rebuilding Together etc ..). We did our research, and - with experts engaged in critical home repair - we determined that 18 homes could be repaired and/or replaced, with #$300,000. That would be just a start, at addressing this terrible problem.
WHERE WE ARE
In the Spring of 2022, as a result of our Nehemiah action that year and good follow-through, we got City Council to amend the budget to include $300,000 for the mobile home repair and replacement program.
However, last Fall, we discovered that the city was not releasing the funds.
So, we organized. Similar to our Affordable Housing campaign, we -
- turned out with our people four times to the City Council meeting (twice with 150 members!)
- garnered the attention of the press (see our "In the News" page!)
- conducted a social media campaign (check out our RISC Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter pages)
On March 27, the day prior to our Nehemiah Action, pressure was high on the city to release the funds. And City Council acted, coming to a consensus to direct staff to release the funds immediately to Project Homes, so they could get the program started.
And, at our Nehemiah Action the next day, 4 Councilmembers attended our Action (Robertson, Lynch, Addison, and Lambert), along with 1,172 RISC members. They committed to support passage of $500,000 the FY 2024 budget, to continue this program.
Over the next year, we plan to ensure the funding is allocated, and that families’ homes are repaired / replaced. And, we'll be seeking additional funding for this program, as the problem is far greater than the funds allocated thus far can address.
RECORDINGS OF KEY EVENTS IN OUR HEALTHY HOMES CAMPAIGN