In the new episode of “Gimme Shelter: The California Housing Crisis Podcast,” CalMatters Housing Reporter Manuela Tobias shares her findings from a five-month investigation on California’s mobile home parks, the last stop in housing affordability for the state’s most vulnerable residents.
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California’s housing affordability problems are multifaceted.
But one of its most overlooked housing crises is taking place in mobile homes — one of the last stops for Californians teetering on the edge of homelessness.
Mobile home parks offer some of the cheapest housing options to an estimated 1.6 million residents in California. Those residents are poorer and older than the average renter, and pay a fraction of their housing costs.
But affordability too often comes at a steep price.
In a five-month investigation, CalMatters housing reporter Manuela Tobias uncovered questionable state oversight of mobile home parks across California. She found parks could go up to 20 years without a full inspection under state law, and even when state workers discovered problems, limited enforcement could allow serious health and safety problems to fester.
Her story takes readers behind the scenes of Stockton Park Village, a park abandoned by its owners in 2020 and left its residents to endure years of squalor, including multiple septic system failures.
In the latest episode of Gimme Shelter, Manuela shares what she learned in her reporting with co-host Liam Dillon, housing reporter for The Los Angeles Times. Listeners this week will hear not only Manuela and Liam unpack substandard housing issues across the state — but the voices of the people most affected by the problem and officials seeking solutions.
The guiding question for this installment of the podcast: How is the state doing as it tries to strike the balance between keeping this crucial source of affordable housing open, while also making sure the conditions at the park are livable?