Lafayette City Council will provide a $495,000 grant to help purchase housing in an affordable neighborhood.
The La Luna Community Cooperative, founded by residents of Mountain View Mobile Home Park, has partnered with Thistle, an affordable housing non-profit organization, to purchase the park. The cooperative asked the city for support for the purchase of the apartment.
The council voted Tuesday 6-0 on a $495,000 interest-free loan for the La Luna co-op. Councilor Enihs Medrano was not present.
The mobile home park is a 14-acre, 34-unit community located on the southeast corner of East Cleveland Street and South Burlington Avenue.
Planning and Construction Director Jeff Brasel presented the letter of commitment to the council. The letter states that the loan is forgivable, subject to future council appropriations, with the condition that the cooperative be formally incorporated and enter into a loan agreement with Lafayette and residents purchase the park by November 1, 2023.
Brasel said the Mountain View’s owner has notified residents of its intention to sell the property. The residents then joined forces with Thistle to form a cooperative and negotiated with the property owner to purchase the property.
He said housing partnerships often seek financial support from local governments, state and non-profit organizations. This enables affordable rental prices in the long term. He explained that cooperatives allow residents to legally create the ability to own and maintain property together, make rules and regulations, and regulate rent.
La Luna Community Vice President Patricia Rice said her main concern is homelessness among elderly residents. Residents’ acquisition of the park would help prevent this by maintaining affordable rents for those in the park who have a steady income.
“There are a number of seniors at our park who are going to need a lower rent, and any grants, any help that we can get is going to help bring rental costs down,” Rice said.
Rice said the cooperative was more than just a financial offering to residents, it brought park residents together to help each other as neighbors as well. She said she wanted to make sure no resident was left behind.
Mobile home park resident Mary Kelly said she has lived in the neighborhood for over 40 years and the loan will help her and many other residents keep their homes there.
“We just want to have a place in Lafayette that we can call home,” Kelly said.