ENCINITAS — City Council voted against giving preference to mobile home park residents requesting rental assistance Nov. 19.
Housing Administrator Ron Barefield told the council that Section 8 housing vouchers are currently used by 136 households in the city to subsidize the portion of rent that is not affordable based on their income.
“There are 921 households on the waiting list, of which 34 are mobile home residents,” Barefield said. Through the voucher program, seven mobile home residents are currently being assisted. The current wait time for rental assistance in the city is six years.
According to Barefield, a so-called super preference could be given to mobile home residents that would give them additional points on the scale by virtue of living in a mobile home and thus move them ahead of other qualified applicants who have been on the waiting list for a longer period of time.
Households applying for rental assistance from the city are assessed on a scale of 100 points. Of the applicants receiving 100 points, 27 are mobile home residents.
Staff recommended against the action. Barefield said that mobile home residents are currently being served appropriately. He also said that giving an automatic preference to mobile home residents would have a negative impact on other applicants and increase waiting periods.
Julie Pauley, whose organization represents manufactured home owners, pledged support for staff’s recommendations. She said it would work with the city to assist mobile home residents in working through the rental assistance application process. “I think it’s also important to note the timing,” she said referring to the new incoming administration in Washington, D.C. “Perhaps the waiting list won’t be so dreadful.”
“I recommend we conduct public outreach,” Councilwoman Maggie Houlihan said. Barefield said a meeting was held two weeks ago with mobile home residents related to possible assistance with rental voucher programs.
Sands Mobile Home Park resident Chris Carbonale said he supported the assistance program. “I think it’s a win-win,” he told the council.
However, some residents disagreed. “I’m not sure why the city and the federal government should subsidize people who want to live in such an expensive place like Encinitas,” Jerry Burn, a Leucadia resident, said. “I struggle to pay my mortgage and nobody gives me any assistance.”