Northwest Region Project

Northwest Region Project


Working with the Northwest Area Foundation, APAC began a National Resident Organizing Project in December 2006. The project's goal is to build inclusive decision-making and organizing capacity for manufactured home communities in the foundation's eight-state region as a strategy for placing residents in the driver's seat of advancing their rights and securing long-term community preservation. As the project continues, APAC will develop and provide:

Organizing Resources
APAC is finalizing training curricula and an organizing manual that will be shared with all the states in the northwest region, covering topics such as establishing a shared vision, building a constituent base, developing leadership, forming homeowner associations, formulating strategies and tactics, developing messaging strategies, and advancing policy change. These materials will be produced not only for homeowners and homeowner associations, but for nonprofit professionals to better understand resident concerns and how to effectively work with them, including housing and consumer advocates, public interest law firms, community housing development organizations, and others. They will be available in print and on our web site.

Targeted In-State Training, Networking and Support
The involves identifying target states for one-year of in-state training, networking and support based on need, interest and commitment. We will conduct a series of three to five day on-site training and goal-setting sessions in each of the states. All members of our staff will be available for follow up and questions throughout the year, but we will also designate a primary contact.


Idaho

Relevant State Laws
www.legislature.idaho.gov

Manufactured Home Parks
www.mobilehomeparkstore.com/directory/listidaho.htm

Demographic Information
www.indicators.nwaf.org/DrawRegion.aspx?RegionID=16000&IndicatorID=100014

Key Organizations

  • Idaho Legal Aid Services
  • AARP Idaho
  • Idaho Housing & Finance Authority
  • Inter Mountain Fair Housing Council
  • Neighborhood Housing Services
  • SAGE Community Resources

Iowa

Manufactured Home Parks
www.mobilehomeparkstore.com/directory/listiowa.htm

Demographic Information
www.indicators.nwaf.org/DrawRegion.aspx?RegionID=19000

Key Organizations

  • Community Housing Initiatives
  • Iowa Coalition for Housing & the Homeless
  • Iowa Legal Aid
  • Neighborhood Finance Corp
  • Terrace Heights Residents Association

Montana

Relevant State Laws
http://data.opi.state.mt.us/bills/mca/70/24/70-24-436.htm

Manufactured Home Parks
www.mobilehomeparkstore.com/directory/listmontana.htm

Demographic Information
www.indicators.nwaf.org/DrawRegion.aspx?IndicatorID=100014&RegionID=30000

Key Organizations

  • Alliance for Building Communities
  • Human Resources Development Council District 7
  • Montana Home Choice Coalition/AWARE
  • Montana HomeOwnership Network, NeighborWorks
  • Montana Legal Services Association
  • Montana People's Action
  • Neighborhood Housing Services Inc. of Great Falls
  • Working for Equality and Economic Liberation

North Dakota

Relevant State Laws
www.legis.nd.gov/cencode/t23c10.pdf

Manufactured Home Parks
www.mobilehomeparkstore.com/directory/listnorthdakotamhp.htm

Demographic Information
www.indicators.nwaf.org/DrawRegion.aspx?IndicatorID=100014&RegionID=38000

Key Organizations

  • People Escaping Poverty Project
  • CommunityWorks North Dakota
  • Minot Mobile Home Tenants Association Inc

Oregon

Relevant State Laws
www.leg.state.or.us/ors/090.html

Manufactured Home Parks
www.mobilehomeparkstore.com/directory/listoregon.htm

Demographic Information
www.indicators.nwaf.org/DrawRegion.aspx?IndicatorID=100014&RegionID=41000

Key Organizations

  • Oregon State Mobile Home Owners Association
  • Oregon Manufactured Homeowners United
  • Community And Shelter Assistance Corporation (CASA of Oregon)
  • Lane County Legal Aid Services
  • NeighborImpact
  • Portland Housing Center
  • Umpqua CDC
  • Willamette Neighborhood Housing Services

South Dakota

Manufactured Home Parks
www.mobilehomeparkstore.com/directory/listsouthdakotamhp.htm

Demographic Information
www.indicators.nwaf.org/DrawRegion.aspx?IndicatorID=100014&RegionID=46000

Key Organizations

  • Neighborhood Housing Services of the Black Hills, Inc

Washington

Relevant State Laws
http://apps.leg.wa.gov/RCW/default.aspx?cite=59.20

Manufactured Home Parks
www.mobilehomeparkstore.com/directory/listwashingtonmhps.htm

Demographic Information
www.indicators.nwaf.org/DrawRegion.aspx?IndicatorID=100014&RegionID=53000

Key Organizations

  • Columbia Legal Services
  • Mobile Home Owners of America, Inc. (MHOA)
  • SOS Homeowner’s Association
  • Central Area Development Association
  • Community Frameworks
  • HomeSight
  • Low Income Housing Institute
  • NeighborWorks of Grays Harbor County
  • Northwest Federation of Community Organizations




Tammy Hoth Stands Up for Resident Rights and Charges are Dropped!

45-Year Old Mother and Community Leader Arrested for Exercising Her First Amendment Rights



Early January of 2008, Montana community leader Tammy Hoth turned herself in in response to a warrant for her arrest issued by the Billings, MT police department. Ms. Hoth was handcuffed, searched, had her fingerprints and mug shot taken, and was released on a bond posted at nearly $600. If convicted, she faced a maximum penalty of $500, and six months in jail.

Her imprisonable crime? Passing out leaflets in Casa Village Manufactured Home Community. The leaflets advertised a meeting where residents could learn about their legal rights and strategize how to improve their community. Officially, Ms. Hoth’s “crime,” pressed by Casa Village manager Susie Cole, was Criminal Trespass to Property (Section 45-6-203(1)(b), Montana Code Annotated).

Ms. Hoth is a 45 year old single mother who has been working with her neighbors in Red Lodge, Montana to purchase her own park and to form the state's first manufactured housing cooperative. Additionally, Tammy has been volunteering her time to help other manufactured home park residents become aware of their rights, and of opportunities to own not only their homes, but the land as well. She has led workshops to educate over 175 residents of manufactured home parks. Recently, her own park, Mountain Springs Villa, received a grant nearing half a million dollars to renovate and move their newly formed cooperative.

Ms. Hoth was targeted by park owners and the City for simply passing out information – an act clearly protected by her First Amendment rights. The unfortunate message from the City of Billings is clear – if you live in a manufactured home park, it is a crime for anyone to inform you of your rights, or contact you in person for any reason.

If the statute is read literally, it gives park owners absolute control over the type of information residents have access to and who may or may not enter. Under this argument, if a park owner didn't like your grandmother she or he could put your grandmother in jail for visiting you.

There is, in fact, case law (see Folgueras v. Hassle, Marsh v. Alabama) related to this issue. As an example, Folgueras v Hassle (related to migrant workers living as tenants on the owner's land) concluded:

"The fundamental underlying principle is simply that…real property ownership does not vest the owner with dominion over the lives of those people living on his property. They are…citizens of the United States and tenants. As such they are entitled to the kinds of communications, associations, and friendships guaranteed to all citizens, and secured by the Constitution. The owner's property rights do not divest the migrants of these rights."

Determined to stand up for herself and the rights of all residents, Ms. Hoth pled not guilty and requested a public defender and a jury trial. During the following five months, Ms. Hoth used her vacation time and paid out of pocket for gas to go to a variety of hearings and calendar calls at the Billings court house, an hour and a half drive from her home in Red Lodge, MT.

APAC assisted Ms. Hoth in generating statewide press coverage; a national call-in campaign to the city attorney and mayor of Billings that generated dozens of calls and emails from organizations and residents alike; and nearly 200 post cards to the city attorney and mayor. APAC also assisted Ms. Hoth in finding many local allies, including Montana People’s Action, neighborhood organizations, other manufactured home communities, church members, and current and former state congresspeople.

On Friday, May 2nd, Ms. Hoth called the APAC office with the good news that Susie Cole had agreed to drop the charges against her, if Ms. Hoth signed paperwork agreeing not to enter Casa Village for a period of one year. Ms. Hoth agreed to this condition, knowing that as she was still able to meet with Casa Village residents outside of the park it would not impede her continued commitment to inform and organize interested Casa Village residents.

Although Ms. Hoth is no longer in danger of imprisonment, the danger still exists for any persons trying to inform and organize residents in any capacity; be this a get out the vote drive or a resident meeting. Montana, like many states, and unlike Minnesota (see MN Statute 327C.13), does not have a statewide freedom of expression law. North Dakota does not have this protection either, an important freedom to note as we are starting a three year organizing project in the state. Without the ability to inform and organize, concerned persons, including APAC staff and leaders, are risking arrest every time they step into a park in one of these states. Furthermore, if residents in states with few protections are to have a real shot at gaining rights such as relocation compensation, right of first refusal, and protection from retaliation; it is clear that first step will have to be to gain freedom of expression. There are lots of Susie Coles out there.