2007 Lobby Day & Rally

2007 Lobby Day & Rally

Mobile Justice Leadership Conference and Legislative Summit

Rodrigo Sanchez-Chavarria

The remains of Shady Lane Mobile Home Park are a daily reminder of the effects of park closings. That is why residents from many manufactured home parks across the state met in the Bloomington library which is located next to where Shady Lane once stood. They met to address what state laws they want change and how that can be APAC’s legislative agenda for this year. Residents from Bloomington, Redwing, Shakopee, Rosemount, Inver Grove Heights, St. Anthony and Chisago City discussed the importance of having statewide relocation compensation so residents who would be affected by park closings in the state of Minnesota would be protected. Residents also talked about the importance of extending the timeline from 45 to 90 days that currently is in place for residents to exercise the right of first refusal, which gives residents the option to purchase their park in case it is being closed for redevelopment within one year of the park purchase. Residents strongly agreed that these were the two things that they wanted to change and they would like to see APAC pursue these changes in this legislative session. Residents also expressed concerns regarding the increase of lot rent over the few years which creates a financial hardship on many park residents that are on a fixed income. They felt that rent increases do not justify the lack of maintenance done in their communities and that this should be something that residents and APAC should address to change in the future.

At this legislative summit residents determined what changes need to happen so residents can have a voice. At the Mobile Justice Leadership Conference, held a couple of weeks later in the city of St. Anthony, park leaders gained the tools and strategies to make this happen. Leaders learned about building power within their communities, how to talk to legislators and elected officials, and how to get people from their parks involved in their resident associations. Residents engaged the presenters as well as fellow park residents and challenged others to build power within their communities. Many residents left the conference with the feeling of empowerment and excitement because they were learning how they can achieve Mobile Justice.