Leesburg Mobile Home Park residents marched down Market Street in Leesburg Wednesday, Sept. 8 to ask for help as the land under their homes is being sold for millions.
The residents of the mobile home park have been notified that the property, the site of 86 lots walking distance from downtown Leesburg, is to be sold for $11 million. The owner and likely purchaser have not responded to inquiries from Loudoun Now. But the sale price makes people in the park worry they’ll be kicked off the land many have called home their entire lives—and the only place for miles around they can afford to live.
On Wednesday, dozens of residents and supporters marched through afternoon traffic to raise awareness and ask the county Board of Supervisors for help, organized by New Virginia Majority. A long line of people waited to ask county supervisors for help during public comment sessions. Park resident Dinora Vasquez, speaking through interpreter Vanessa Prudencio, told supervisors of her struggles to afford the mobile home she lives in, and to care for her wheelchair-bound, disabled daughter, who gets in and out of her home with a chair lift. She said she doesn’t have anywhere else to go.
“We are human beings. We are complete families who are suffering as a result for this massive potential displacement,” she said.
“It is a very peaceful trailer park. There’s no delinquency. It’s a healthy area of humble and hardworking people,” said Kathrine Escobar, speaking for her grandmother. “We live on what little we have, many of us seniors. We could not live elsewhere. Our incomes are not enough. It would strip us of the only thing we have.”
Supervisors offered them little. Chair Phyllis J. Randall (D-At Large) said it was more of a Town of Leesburg issue than a county government issue.
“There are two things you should know—one, Leesburg is not under the jurisdiction of the county government, and from all that we have been told, there is not going to be any displacement of residents for, at the very least, 18 months, and possibly up to three years,” Randall said.
Where those people will go in 18 months—or three years—remains unclear. The calls for help, so far unanswered, also brought up supervisors’ affordable housing work. Asked if his office had any program to help the residents in the mobile home park, Commissioner of the Revenue Bob Wertz pointed out that even if the decades-old mobile homes actually can move again, there may be no place for them in Loudoun at any price.
“I listened to the folks that came to talk about the mobile home park tonight, and it’s been something that the county has prohibited for some time, and permits mobile homes for tenant house and temporary housing while you’re building a house, but it’s prohibited in other areas,” Wertz said. “Maybe that’s something that the board needs to look at. I know it’s not popular, but if you’re really going to have a conversation about affordable housing, it’s an option.”
Mobile home park residents next plan to speak before the Leesburg Town Council.