There are local, state and federal grants available for affordable housing. A trailer park is a viable alternative to single-family or multi-family housing tracts because mobile homes require less land and infrastructure, and more housing units could be established with the allocated money. Reputable manufactured homes have factory specifications that meet or exceed U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development standards before they leave the factory.
Start With the Local Government
Many state programs for small cities or housing and community renewals are limited to municipalities, while businesses are more likely to qualify for low-interest loans than receive government grants. Non-profit agencies are eligible for some grant programs, but they stand a better chance of obtaining a grant award if the local town board or city council provides a letter of recommendation noting that the project would adhere to local zoning and code requirements.
Involve the Community
Ask the residents if a mobile home park is a good solution to the town or city's needs for very low-, low- and moderate-income housing. Hold a public forum and document residents' support of the proposal. The project stands a better chance for government funding it the applicants demonstrate significant public support for it.
Research Grants Opportunities and Guidelines
Some funding programs have rolling deadlines where proposals can be submitted any time, while others are offered once or twice a year and have firm deadlines. According to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, there are federal grant programs available for municipalities and non-profit agencies. Some programs are dedicated to rehabilitating existing housing stock, but there is also money available for establishing new low-income housing units on vacant or blighted property. Some states have housing funding programs that specifically serve rural areas, which are more likely to allow trailer parks than suburbs or cities. New York's Division of Housing and Community Renewal, for example, has an annual block grant that serves towns, cities or villages that have under 50,000 people.
Hire a grant writer. There are many who specialize in state and federal housing grants. Any type of grant is extremely competitive, so the stronger the application, the better. It's wise to depend on someone who has successfully obtained grants before.
Aaron Gifford is based in New York. He has been on staff at the "Syracuse Post-Standard," the "Watertown Daily Times" and the "Oneida Daily Dispatch." He's also written for "Long Island Newsday," "Empire State Report" magazine and "In Good Health." He has been writing professionally since 1995. Gifford holds a Bachelor of Arts in sociology from the University at Buffalo.