AUSTIN - Thursday, Austin City Councilor Sabino "Pio" Renteria announced an agreement with residents being kicked out of one of Austin's only remaining mobile home parks.
Cactus Rose sits along U.S. 183 between Montopolis Drive and State Highway 71 near the airport. Advocates for affordable housing said the Cactus Rose fight is bigger than the few dozen residents who lived there. It sets a precedent for affordable housing, mobile home parks and development relocation moving forward.
In June, residents of the park rallied at Austin City Hall, urging leaders to either provide alternate living themselves or require the new developer, Oden Hughes, to do so. The Austin-based company has a contract to turn part of the 23-acre plot into a mixed-use area with apartments, retail and restaurants. The plan will ultimately displace 57 families -- 23 of which have already left with assistance.
The remaining double-wide mobile home owners will get $20,000 each. Single-wide mobile home owners will get $10,000 each. Recreational vehicle owners and renters will get $2,000 each. Tenants have 270 days to vacate. In addition, they'll get their security deposits back and receive bilingual relocation assistance from a licensed real estate professional.
Many are satisfied with the outcome after a year-long battle, but urged Austin's city council to look toward the future.
"We have residents moving to our city, but they’re displacing existing residents," said David King, president of the Austin Neighborhoods Council. "So we need to take a close look at our policies and make room for everyone. New residents to move here – but not at the expense of existing residents or displacing existing residents. We need to look at our policies there."
Councilor Renteria agrees. Cactus Rose is in his district and he's been advocating for families there. The councilor spearheaded amending the Tenant Relocation Ordinance to include mobile homes. Renteria said the city will be looking into setting a fair reimbursement rate for anyone displaced moving forward.
Despite the agreement, families said they're still short about $200,000 to purchase new mobile homes for the entire community. They'll be seeking further funding from the council and the public.