April 18, 2019 06:34 PM
(ABC 6 News)- Affordable housing is an issue affecting cities and communities throughout the state, but finding a solution is difficult.
A local community is taking matter into their own hands, welcoming 28 families to build on their property.
“People cannot afford what houses cost today. Two hundred, three hundred dollars,” said Allie Lechner, a resident and voluntary board member at Zumbro Ridge Estates, a mobile home park in Northeast Rochester.
Finding affordable housing is challenging enough, but saving enough to own a home can be even more difficult.
“It’s actually a choice that you can make. You can have a simpler lifestyle and have a community within a community,” Lechner said.
In 2017, Zumbro Ridge Estates went up for sale.
Worried that rents would go up and the park wouldn’t get much upkeep, the 82 residents who lived their made a choice to invest and buy the park.
“Mobile homes today are not what the stigma was of several years ago, and mobile home parks do not have to have a bad rap. Mobile home parks can be clean. If they’re owned by the people that live in the park, they have great pride,” Lechner said.
She believes Zumbro Ridge Estates is a real solution to the lack of affordable housing.
“That enables somebody with an income of less than $45,000/year to be able to own their own homes and to be able to own equity. That’s a big deal,” said Steve Borchardt, Director of the Coalition for Rochester Area Housing.
Borchardt said what’s happening at the park is unique because they’re working with so many community partners and businesses.
From outdoor work to discounts on windows and playground equipment, and at Homes of Harmony just across the street – brand-new turnkey homes for $68,000.
“The tenants or the buyers of the house bring their furniture and their food and move in,” said Dennis Kieffer, President of Homes of Harmony.
The prices vary slightly depending on the size of the home, but it’s an affordable option in a city where there are few.
“It’s everyone’s dream to be a homeowner, so we’re going to try to make that available,” Kieffer said.
Lechner has a vision for Zumbro Ridge Estates, which she’s been working on tirelessly for the past two years.
“We’re in desperate need of a playground for our children,” Lechner said.
And a new, state-of-the-art playground to replace the small plastic one that currently resides on the park isn’t cheap; it comes with a price tag of $60,000.
With more than $40,000 to raise by June 1 in order to secure a $15,000 grant, Lechner’s begun to ask the community for their help.
She’s set up a GoFundMe and there’s also an account set up at First Alliance Cred Union off 37th Street Northeast.
Her hope is for families, and especially the nearly 70 kids who already live there, to be proud of it.
“I picture this place being, when you drive in the front, and you come in the entrance you have a beautiful bus stop for our children,” Lechner said, “a picnic area with grills, then you cross the street where the main meeting room is and you have a basketball court, you have a beautiful playground for our children. You have kids that get off the bus, they hold their head high and they say yeah we live here.”
Updated: April 18, 2019 06:34 PM
Created: April 18, 2019 06:32 PM
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