Editor: On Aug. 3, mobile home owners at the Leesburg Mobile Park received notices informing them of an offer to purchase the park for $11 million by an undisclosed buyer. The Park is located in the Crescent District just a 10-minute walk from downtown Leesburg. It is home to 75 families, who are predominantly working class, Latin American immigrants. Upon receiving this notice, the residents responded by informing the park owner of their desire to stay on the land, in their homes, where some have lived for over 20 years.
As a coalition of community organizations, nonprofits, and Loudoun residents advocating for housing justice, we firmly support the mobile home owners at Leesburg Mobile Park and are extremely concerned about the possibility of displacement.
Mobile homes are one of the few options for working class families to live with some degree of independence and stability in Loudoun County. If the mobile home owners were to be displaced, the reality is that many would have nowhere to go. Affordable housing in Loudoun is extremely limited. Existing housing programs have waiting lists hundreds of names long. Tenants face constant rent increases, forcing them to move frequently in search of more affordable rent. For many, staying in Loudoun requires doubling up with relatives, or subletting rooms in larger homes. Turning mobile home owners into renters would be a step in the wrong direction. This is why our state legislators recently passedHB 2175, requiring localities to incorporate manufactured housing into their comprehensive plans as a source of affordable housing.
The current Leesburg draft Town Plan envisions a complete transformation of the Crescent District, where the park is located. In the illustrations depicting the future Crescent District area, the mobile park disappears, and new condos and townhomes have taken its place. Let’s call this what it is: gentrification. This wouldn’t be the first time that communities of color and working-class families are displaced to build homes for other people.
But we have a choice here.We can choose not to displace families.We believe that the Town of Leesburg and Loudoun County must come together, working in collaboration with the mobile home owners, to preserve the affordable housing at Leesburg Mobile Park.
We appreciate that housing has been a top priority in Loudoun this year. The county unveiled its Unmet Housing Needs Strategic Plan, laying out strategies and targets to address Loudoun’s housing crisis over the next five years. Meanwhile, real estate prices have skyrocketed, making Loudoun less and less affordable for many. As it becomes increasingly challenging to construct new affordable housing, particularly in urban hubs, let’s work together to preserve what little affordable housing already exists.
Loudoun Housing Justice Coalition
League of Women Voters (LWV) Loudoun County Loudoun Climate Project
Loudoun County NOW
North American Somali Women’s Association New Virginia Majority
Raj Khalsa Gurdwara, Sikh Temple of Sterling The Activated People
Virginia Political Cooperative
Virginia Muslim Political Action Committee Women Giving Back