Euclid Beach residents have plan to save mobile homes. Western Reserve Land Conservancy says no
The Legal Aid Society of Cleveland says it's found a federal program that it hopes can help keep an East Side Cleveland mobile home park from closing, but the nonprofit organization that owns the property remains set in its plans.
The Western Reserve Land Conservancy (WRLC) announced in February that it would be handing over the Euclid Beach Mobile Home Park to the Cleveland Metroparks in 2024. WRLC said it would provide financial and logistical assistance to help the residents find new places to live. The decision was made in partnership with local officials and community development corporations.
With the help of the Northeast Ohio Coalition for the Homeless, the residents created a union – the United Residents of Euclid Beach, which has legal representation from the Legal Aid Society to work toward a compromise with the conservancy that keeps residents in the park.
Legal Aid recently discovered a program created in 2022 by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) called Preservation and Reinvestment Initiative for Community Enhancement (PRICE).
The PRICE program includes $225 million in federal dollars for revitalizing manufactured housing, which includes mobile home communities.
“The Western Reserve Land Conservancy and the Metroparks owe it to the residents of Euclid Beach to pursue every option before resorting to displacing 150 individuals and families," said Legal Aid attorney Mike Russell. "The PRICE program represents an exciting and viable alternative to displacement.”
The conservancy shut down the idea of PRICE quickly, saying its decision to close the mobile home park is final and it will not consider applying for federal programs like PRICE as an option to keep residents on the property.
“The decision to close the Euclid Beach Mobile Home Community is not one taken lightly or made alone. We listened the hundreds of North Collinwood residents, respected Cleveland-based organizations, Councilman Polensek, and the City of Cleveland, all of whom made it clear that smart planning involving a unified beachfront park is what the Cleveland needs,” said WRLC Director of Communications Jared Saylor.
PRICE funding will be distributed over five years to eligible applicants which will include local governments, nonprofits and resident-owned manufactured housing communities.
According to HUD, PRICE funds must be used for “infrastructure, planning, resident and community services (including relocation assistance and eviction prevention), resiliency activities, and providing other assistance to residents or owners of manufactured homes, which may include providing assistance for manufactured housing land and site acquisition.”
Russell said the conservancy talked about the price of repairing the mobile home park being one of its reasons for closing.
“With this money this community can become sustainable,” Russell said. “It can be sustainable while still ceding some of the parkland to the Metroparks to increase greenspace and add to the public’s access to the lakefront.”
The conservancy previously set September 2024 as the date the mobile home park will be handed over to Metroparks. It also said it would be providing compensation and relocation packages in about 45 days.
“There is a concern about the timeline, but the closing date that WRLC has provided is totally arbitrary. With this substantial funding that’s coming down the pipe, there’s no reason why the WRLC can’t delay that moveout date or delay the closure date to allow for a full and robust investigation of what this funding could mean for the residents. It could mean so much,” Russell said.
WRLC spokesman Jared Saylor said it will provide residents with access to social services and Cleveland housing organizations.
“We will treat them with dignity and respect,” Saylor said. “We know this is a difficult time for residents and we pledge to work together with them to ensure their housing needs are met.”
There are about 140 homes on the mobile home park. Most residents own their homes and pay a fee for their lots.