Manufactured Homes in Billings
march 02 2008
In todays age of growth in and around Billings, development of lands are quickly becomeing common place. As is with all communities through out Montana. Most of the development is with homes or lodgings for residents and guests. while others are from interests in the growth of the communities bringing comercial enterprizes.
In the state we are experiancing a 2% unemployment rate. given the many comercial new bussinesses building in billings, that 2% will soon be gobbled up of the avalible billings unemployed. and with the need of others from around this nation needing jobs this becomes an attractive proposal for new residents to live here billings needs people, and we have jobs for them. The avalable jobs are by far not the best paying jobs, but an income for those that need it none-the-less. for the number of avalable and soon to become avaliable jobs in the Billings area, a bottle neck is created. there simple is not enough Affordiable housing for this work force.
That being said sets the stage for what is about to happen in the next few years here in billings with Manufactured Home Owners in a home park. The most avaiable and easest land to be had by developers are those of manufactured home parks. the land is developed and a very few structures on the land that a developer needs to remove. some manufactured home parks in billings have no structures. These parks at one time built on the outskirts of city limits have been over grow by the city and are now offten times found in prime real estate locations.
What happens to the home owners of the park for sale one might ask? Think of the most devestating thing that has happened in a huracane, (Katrina for example) and you will have that answer. a few might be able to swim out of it with there homes intact, most will not. for the laws in montana and here in billings allows for the resedents to receive a 6 month eviction notice. FORCED EVICTION under eminunt domane.
Now the question this researcer has been asked over and over again. where will we go? there is only one direction, leave the park and hand the keys of your home over to some one you have never meet. you can fight over the very few avaliable lots to move your home. but then again its going to cost you 5,000 dollars to move the home. but for the most of them they will experiance homelessness.
This much has already been happening all over montana in the last couple of years. In the end it has been noted that the members of the greater comunity and city offices have been footing the bill on relocating there fellow residents. in fact as a side note one manufactured home park was evicted and closed to make way for a gas station. In conversations with the Billings Housing Athority there is not one penney left to help these people with subsadised housing.
The land owner is runing the home park as a business, and it is the land owners final decision as to the uses of the land, not the home owners. to me this is just business and some form of responsability should be asseset towards the bussiness owner, or the purchaser of the property, in compensating and relocating the displaced home owners. The federal Department of Transportation fully agrees if it is a cause of this Department for road ways to be built, that they will fully compensate the home owner. and relocate them. If i were to own a fly shop lets say. and because i was closeing that fly shop and it cause hundreds of people to lose there homes am i to be held accountable for it? You would think i would, but i am not.
Now comes the lidigations. aginst the property owner and the city. here is the part a city councle member once said, "I can see this getting ugly".
I will give you one example from the transportation departments point of view. Comeing in april of 2008 3 manufactured homes near cabalas will be forcable evicted under eminunt domane. "HEY" its a blighted area and the U.S. Supremm Court says its ok to do it. as per the decision of october 2005.
just for claifacation it does not have to be a manufactured home it could be a site built home or even a bussiness.
I once attempted to brings these findings to the city council, but before i could even request the oppertunity to submitt my report for the city to make an ordiance to protect these people the city voted 5-5 with the 6th vote unfilled in a preemtive vote on a non-agenda item. in fact apon reflection i did not know the council could make a vote on non agenda items. which tells me my report comes in conflict with the citys scope on blighted areas. it further puts the thought in my damaged brain that the city is willing to cut right through living flesh to make the city over.
Finaly let me tell you why i took this path in life to help these people. they are elderly, native americans, veterans, the disabled, poverty stricken, all of whom are seeking to own there own homes with the limited budget they have. "The American Dream" is being torn apart, and i want to be able to sleep with my self at night knowing that i tryed to help and make a differance. as reported to me buy the department of revenue (this is going to shock you as it did me) there are 7,652 listed manufactured home owners in billings. the yellowstone staff have told me there are 144 manufactured home parks in the county out of the 972 parks in the state. of that there are 104 in the greater billings area. accourding to the U.S. census report there are 3.5% residents per household. That would mean that over 25,000 billings residents live in manufactured homes. 1/4 of the citys population. further more in the United States of America, Montana per Capta of residents has the greatest population of manufactured home owners in the country. and we are one of the last states to have any protection for them. for the state of montana that number would be 14.2% manufactured home owners. also with no security and protection of Forced Evictions.
I have been greatly concerned and offen cryed at nights over the ineviatable loss of home ownerships in billings in the affordiable housing area. For the last 2 years i have investigated whats being done what will be done and what will happen with manufactured home park lands. and have met with adversitys to make equiality happen for the home owners. May be i am a pur-scientist, as i have been accused by my proffesors, and not the person to bring my findings forward to the powers that be. i don't know.
I have never asked any one for help before so i am new to the concept. but i realy could use help in seeking justice and equality for manufactured home owners. Even if it is just to save there homes. Homelessness is something that is worst then death. been there, done that. Were i to have an enemy i would not wish it on my greatest enemy.
Ways to help might be to set up a trust fund for the purchase of the lands by the home owners, or to seek city codes, perhaps a simple donation to a non-profit set up to help manufactured homes. or even set some land aside in antisapation of the loss of these homes. there are many ways to go, even help to investigate or seek judiciary law. in the end i am asking you to help out you fellow Billings residents now before its too late.