Mission and History
Based in St. Paul, All Parks Alliance for Change (APAC) is a nonprofit tenants union for residents of Minnesota's manufactured (mobile) home parks. APAC's mission is to serve as a vehicle to promote meaningful social change, to protect the legal rights of park residents, and to improve the quality of life in manufactured home parks. APAC works to promote the health, safety, and welfare of manufactured homeowners through community organizing, tenant advocacy, housing preservation, and legislative advocacy.
APAC has launched the Mobile Justice movement, and is working to build a base around a shared vision of Mobile Justice:
- Affordable housing
- Fair treatment and respect
- Accountable park owners
- Resident participation in decision making
- Equality: no racism or discrimination
- Responsible governance
What is Mobile Justice?
"Mobile Justice means fighting for our rights, education, and working for justice within parks. We need to challenge park prejudice that takes place among us, but we also need to address it within our own community... Mobile Justice has to include everyone." ~ Pat Freeman, Chisago City, MN
"I see Mobile Justice from the perspective of our situation in my park. I have big concerns with the community perception of us. The relationship between the homeowners and the park owner is also a problem. Mobile Justice is about overcoming these issues. There is particularly need in communities of color as well." ~ John Freeman, Chisago City, MN
Mobile justice is "a community where families can move in and their kids can grow up healthy and happy." ~ Betty Baily, Lexington, MN
History and Accomplishments
Since 1980, APAC has been an effective resource for tenants of manufactured home parks. APAC has succeeded in raising the standard for storm shelters and worked with residents to eliminate "no cause" evictions. We have organized with residents from eleven metro area cities to pass park closing ordinances, which require park owners to pay relocation compensation to residents in the event of a park closure. In 1989, APAC was awarded with a Certificate of Commendation from Governor Rudy Perpich for "outstanding service" to the community. In 1993, we received the Nonprofit Mission Award from the Minnesota Council of Nonprofits. APAC was also given the Leo C. Byrne Social Justice Award from the Christian Sharing Fund for our success in "achieving dignity for people." In 2007, APAC received the Allies for Justice Award from Headwaters Foundation for Justice. More information is available in our 25th Anniversary Book
- 1980- APAC is founded as “Anoka People's Alliance for Change” to address the needs of low and moderate income individuals. Over 70 citizens attended the first meeting at Blaine High School, which covered issues of inadequate public transportation, lack of low cost health care, and other issues. APAC later evolved into “All Parks Alliance for Change” becoming an effective voice for manufactured home park residents. APAC hires its first executive director, Beth Newkirk. APAC and the Minnesota Manufactured Housing Association, the industry group, negotiated a plain English lease giving residents a better understanding of their rights and responsibilities. APAC obtained increased health care funding for low to moderate income individuals provided for under the Hill-Burton Act.
- 1981- APAC sets a national precedent by utilizing Community Development Block Grants (CDBG) to to fund park storm shelters in Blaine parks.
- 1982- APAC successfully lobbied the Minnesota Legislature to eliminate no cause eviction, prevent retaliatory eviction, and establish storm shelter standards. The bill was signed into law on March 22, 1982.
- 1983- APAC adopts manufactured home parks as the specific focus of its low and moderate income organizing efforts. APAC successfully lobbied the Minnesota Legislature to bar so-called 15-year clauses in leases. These clauses allowed park owners to prohibit in-park sales of older homes, forcing residents with older homes to either demolish the home or move it out of the park, at their own expense . Residents now have the right to sell a home within the park regardless of the age as long as it is in compliance with park rules.
- 1984- APAC begins to organize its structure around the formation of park chapters at Fridley Terrace, Northview Villa, Village Green North, Sandpiper Bend, and Spring Lake Terrace. APAC stopped an illegal rent increase and obtained federal home improvement loans to bring homes up to code at Spring Lake Terrace.
- 1985- APAC stopped discrimination against families with children at Northview Villa. APAC negotiated with the U.S. Postal Service and the park manager to allow residents to maintain individual mail service at Fridley Terrace.
- 1986- APAC worked with the Attorney General’s office to protect the right to organize in parks, by preventing management from evicting residents for forming a resident association and peacefully distributing flyers in their parks. APAC secured an agreement for a storm sewer system and new storm shelter at Castle Towers.
- 1987- APAC successfully lobbied the Minnesota Legislature to authorize municipalities to adopt park closing ordinances to require park owners and/or purchasers to provide relocation compensation in the event of a park closing. APAC also successfully pushed a storm shelter law allowing for stricter enforcement of shelter requirements. It gives cities the authority to order park owners to construct shelters if an evacuation plan is determined to be inadequate. APAC prevented the mass eviction of 110 families and required a major clean up at the Pines in Hopkins. Lee (Roderick) Blons becomes APAC’s second executive director when Beth Newkirk leaves to direct the Organizing Apprenticeship Project.
- 1988- APAC changes its name to “All Parks Alliance for Change” and expands metro-wide. New chapters are started in several cities within Hennepin and Dakota County. In the next few years, chapters are organized in Washington, Carver, and Ramsey counties as well.
- 1989- APAC successfully lobbied the Minnesota Legislature to allow cooperative and nonprofit owned parks to homestead. This tax change reduces the costs of park conversions by lowering property taxes about 65%. APAC successfully pushed for the first park closing ordinance in the city of Bloomington. The ordinance provided for relocation compensation in the event of a park closing. APAC obtained a $50 per month reduction and $430 per person rebate in a rent challenge. APAC was awarded with a Certificate of Commendation from Governor Rudy Perpich for "outstanding service" to the community.
- 1990- APAC successfully pushed for a park closing ordinance in the city of Hopkins. APAC re-locates its office from Fridley to St. Paul in recognition of its metro-wide focus.
- 1991- APAC successfully pushed for a park closing ordinance in the city of Lake Elmo. APAC incorporates the Northstar State Community Land Trust and begins its efforts to purchase parks from traditional investor owners, focusing on Whispering Oaks in Oakdale. APAC successfully lobbied the Minnesota Legislature to create a right of first refusal in the event that a park is sold for redevelopment within one year of that sale. Residents or an authorized nonprofit are given 45-days to match the terms and conditions of the sale. Russ Adams becomes APAC’s fourth executive director.
- 1992- APAC, through the Northstar State CLT, falls $50,000 short of acquiring Whispering Oaks in Oakdale. The park does leave investor hands when it is purchased by the Washington County HRA, which announces plans in 2005 to close the park for re-development. APAC and residents use tenant remedies action to get a storm shelter at Ardmor in Lakeville.
- 1993- APAC received the Minnesota Council of Nonprofits’ Nonprofit Mission Award. APAC also received the Christian Sharing Fund’s Leo C. Byrne Social Justice Award for its success in "achieving dignity for people." Collins Park became the first park to close under a closing ordinance. Under the terms of the Bloomington ordinance, 90 households were given relocation compensation or the fair market value for their homes. APAC works with the city of Lake Elmo to require that two storm shelters be built at Cimarron.
- 1994- APAC expands its focus statewide, creating Greater Minnesota as a secondary service area. Working with the Legal Service Advocacy Project, APAC successfully lobbied the Minnesota Legislature to pass three bills: (1) a requirement that home repossession actions take place in the county in which the home is located; (2) a requirement that park residents receive a copy of the park's evacuation plan and a certificate of rent paid form; and (3) a prohibition on restrictive zoning against parks. APAC obtained relocation compensation for residents of Cimarron Park in the township of St. Cloud. APAC worked with the city of Sauk Centre to remedy a dangerous electrical system at Boyack Park. APAC sues to gain access to the Skyline Village community center for resident meetings.
- 1995- The Bloomington park closing ordinances is successfully upheld in court, establishing a legal precedent for park closing ordinances in the State of Minnesota. The former owner of Collins Park, which closed in 1993, had sued the city over paying relocation compensation. APAC obtained relocation compensation for 120 households in Elm Lane in Willmar and 25 households for a partial closing in Madison East Park in Mankato. APAC and residents force Oak Lane in Cannon Falls township to install new sanitary sewer system. Dakota County District County Judge rules in favor of residents holding meetings in Skyline Village. APAC receives its first AmeriCorps * VISTA (Volunteers in Service to America) housing organizer since 1980. With the exception of one year, APAC has continued to receive placements since 1995. Glenn Shoemaker becomes APAC’s executive director when Russ Adams leaves to direct the Alliance for Metropolitan Stability.
- 1996- APAC successfully pushed for a park closing ordinance in the city of Mounds View.
- 1997- APAC successfully pushed for park closing ordinances in the cities of Burnsville, Dayton, and Elk River. APAC successfully lobbied the Minnesota Legislature to require parks to provide criteria used for evaluating prospective tenants.
- 1998- APAC obtains relocation compensation for 37 households in Elk Terrace in Elk River. Jim Paist becomes APAC’s sixth executive director.
- 1999- APAC successfully pushed for a park closing ordinance in the city of Shakopee. APAC expands its primary service area to include Wright and Sherburne Counties.
- 2000- APAC successfully pushed for park closing ordinances in the cities of Apple Valley, Oakdale, and Roseville.
- 2001- APAC successfully pushed for park closing ordinances in the cities of Fridley and Red Wing.
- 2002- APAC obtained relocation compensation for 27 households in Castle Court in Rochester. APAC received an award of recognition from the Otto Bremer Foundation for its “community contributions.”
- 2003- APAC launches a joint program with the North Country Cooperative Development Fund (NCDF) to preserve parks through conversion to resident-owned cooperatives.
- 2004- APAC worked with NCDF to convert Sunrise Villa in Cannon Falls into the first resident-owned manufactured home park cooperative in Minnesota and the upper Midwest. APAC successfully pushed for a park closing ordinance in the city of Lexington. APAC obtained relocation compensation for residents in Janesville, Le Center, and Hermantown. Dave Anderson becomes APAC’s executive director when James Paist leaves to direct the Hemophilia Foundation of Minnesota/Dakotas.
- 2005- APAC worked with NCDF to convert Paul Revere in Lexington into the second resident-owned park cooperative in Minnesota and the first in the Twin Cities. After a five year effort, APAC passed a park closing ordinance in the city Brainerd making it the first in northern Minnesota. APAC worked with residents of Shady Lane in Bloomington on the first exercise of the right of first refusal. It was challenged by the park owner and successfully upheld in court, establishing a legal precedent for the right of first refusal in the state of Minnesota. APAC stopped passage of proposal that would have allowed park owners to break lease agreements and charge for water, even if it was already included in lot rent. APAC and others convened over 45 individuals from more than 30 organizations for “Preserving Minnesota’s Manufactured Home Parks,” a first of its kind conference focusing on the challenges facing park residents.
- 2006- APAC worked with the Northwest Area Foundation, Housing Preservation Project, and Twin Cities Public Television to dramatically increase public awareness of the threats to parks through the Emmy-nominated documentary, “American Dream Under Fire: Manufactured Home Park Residents Fight to Hold Ground.” APAC successfully lobbied the Minnesota Legislature to require that park closing notices be sent to the Minnesota Housing Finance Agency and the Minnesota Department of Health. APAC passed local relocation compensation ordinances in the cities of Austin, Rosemount, and St. Anthony Village. APAC obtained a proclamation from Governor Tim Pawlenty recognizing the vital role of manufactured home communities, honoring APAC’s work on behalf of homeowners, and declaring September 24-30 “Manufactured Home Park Week.” APAC establishes its first Latino community organizer and staff attorney positions. APAC completed its first strategic plan.
- 2007– APAC passed the final local relocation compensation ordinances in the cities of Anoka, Inver Grove Heights, and Sunrise Estates, before the passage of state legislation. APAC lobbied the Minnesota Legislature to establish the Minnesota Manufactured Home Relocation Trust Fund providing a statewide guarantee of relocation compensation when a park closes to 180,000 residents in over 400 cities. APAC successfully argued before the Minnesota Supreme Court that no park owner can prohibit residents or others from peacefully organizing, assembling, canvassing, leafleting, or otherwise expressing their right of free expression in parks. APAC begins a national resident organizing project to promote resident leadership, organizing, and advocacy in other states and to develop strong local, state, and national homeowner associations. APAC establishes its first Greater Minnesota-based community organizer position located in Winona. Headwaters Foundation for Justice awards APAC with the Allies for Justice Award.
- 2008 – APAC successfuly lobbied the Minnesota Legislature to establish the Manufactured Home Lending Practices Bill, a law that protects homeowners from predatory lending practices, such as charging for services that aren’t performed, as well as extending the foreclosure process on manufactured homes giving homeowners more time and resources to prevent the loss of their homes. For the second year in a row, APAC hosted the Manufactured Home Owners Association of America (MHOAA) National Convention and continues to develop strong local, state, and national homeowner associations. APAC opens its second Greater Minnesota office located in Moorhead. APAC hires its first Democracy Project organizer in order to engage residents in the 2008 elections and in the following legislative session.
- 2009 - APAC strengthened the Relocation Trust Fund by requiring collection of the fees from park owners.
- 2010 - APAC established the right to choose your home installation option rather than having to accept the most expensive option. As a result of APAC's efforts, manufactured homeowners now have access for the first time to the Right-of-Way Acquisition Fund (RALF) when road projects take their homes, and property tax treatment is comparable to the lower rate for site-built homes for homeowners who live in resident-owned parks.
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