BOISE, Idaho — For more than a decade, Gary Gallipeau has called Dee Mar Mobile Home Park home.
The Garden City park was established in the 70s. Fifty years later, developers are reimagining and revamping the land into multi-family housing apartments.
Gallipeau said everyone living at the park got eviction notices in January.
“[The developers] even offered us a deal,” he said. “For every month early that we moved out, they would refund us two months of rent, but we had to take our trailers.”
But Gallipeau said moving those mobile homes is more difficult than it seems. Only about three or four of Dee Mar’s mobile homes were built before 1976.
Federal Housing and Urban Development law says manufactured homes built before 1976 do not meet code. Because those homes are not up to date, moving them is a lot harder, said Lori Dicaire, Intermountain Fair Housing Council specialist.
“It costs between eight and $10,000 to move a mobile home,” she said. “And if they’re older, if they’re pre-1976, they actually have to do rehab before they’re allowed to move them.”
Even if someone spent the time and money, Dicaire said there are not many places to move. She cited city data that shows 21 mobile home parks in Garden City have closed since 2011.
That is about 180 units, Dicaire said.
“A lot of these folks are on limited budgets,” she said. “They are disabled; they are single mothers with children; they are seniors.”
Garden City Mayor John Evans said maintaining older mobile home parks is really no longer an option anymore since “it’s willing buyer, willing seller.”
He said establishing new parks is not an option either. And it is not just dwindling mobile home parks; other affordable housing options are also disappearing.
“We have ground on the eastern end of town that’s valued at up to a million dollars,” he said. “You can’t build affordable housing on ground that expensive.”
He said, unfortunately, developing Garden City means people like Gallipeau will be displaced. He recommends people in need reach out to local nonprofits like Jesse Tree or the Boise Rescue Mission.
Dicaire said that is not good enough. She believes cities like Garden City should do more to protect people living in mobile home parks, like implementing new ordinances and zoning codes.
At the end of the day, Gallipeau is less concerned about moving out and more concerned about not getting compensated. He said some of the trailers are valued at upwards of $80,000.
“There’s no fair [or] just compensation for property that we own,” he said. “[The developers] own the land; we own the trailers.”
KTVB reached out to the developers, Vida Properties, for a comment but did not hear back.
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