‘Naturally-Occurring’ No-Subsidy Affordable Housing. Too Bad It’s Dying!

Arcade Trailer Park photo by Thomas Hawk is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0
A long slow farewell to affordable housing trailer parks. Decaying signs of another era.

In North America, it’s a natural pastime to kick around trailer parks. Now playing on Netflix: ‘Trailer Park Boys‘ — a festival of bumbling, lamebrain mishap-prone wanna-be criminals milking the laughs and getting on each other’s nerves with their half-baked schemes.

As for ‘Trailer Trash’— it is a nationally understood term and insult for those folks considered to occupy the very bottommost class of national society.

Pretty much anyone who has lived in a trailer park knows that the reality of these affordable communities can be, and usually is, very different. These communities of mini-homes trade in inexpensive manufactured housing that is wheeled onto lots. Owning a ‘trailer’ and renting a lot can result in housing costs well below other affordable housing. Trailer parks are pay-as-you-go no-subsidies pull-yourself-up-by-your-bootstraps communities that could be models for conservative visions of America’s lowest classes — those who fend for themselves with proud self-reliance.

And yet these communities would seem to be dying everywhere. Part of the problem: location, location, location. With poorly anchored homes situated on cheap land such as river flood plains, they often make the news by suffering the most during local weather crises. And where they are conveniently nestled in out of the way corners close to towns and cities they can fall prey to developers.

Read more about the decline of this unique form of affordable housing in MINNPOST: Trailer parks may be the Twin Cities’ most endangered form of affordable housing


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