San Jose’s largest mobile home park is under new management and looks secure from development.
Evans Management Services took over Silicon Valley Village Mobile Home Park, formerly Westwinds Mobile Home Park, on Sept. 1. The management company entered into a 10-year agreement with the park’s land owners, The Nicholson Family Partnership, and promises to retain the mobile park’s zoning for its more than 1,600 residents.
The management company’s next steps include reviewing park conditions and introducing the new managers to the community, said president Greg Evans.
“There are robust protections under state and local law for mobile home parks that provide our residents with housing stability, and we will follow all of those statutes,” Evans told San José Spotlight. “We look forward to working for the Silicon Valley Village residents.”
San Jose has the highest number of mobile home parks of any city in the state. Yet, residents—who often have low incomes or are on fixed incomes—still face threats of park closures and evictions. While the city has overachieved when it comes to building market rate housing, it has not met its targets for moderate and lower incomes.
Allison Essex, who grew up in the park and lived there until 2012, said the Silicon Valley Village is not just a mobile home park, but a community. Essex, who still goes to the park to visit friends who live there, told San José Spotlight the new managers should strive for better relationships with residents.
“We’ve always gone through managers. At the end of the day, the managers don’t know any of us on a personal level,” Essex said. “Your job is to know the tenants. Things might be changing around us, but their income is not changing.”
Essex said her family history is tied to the park. Her grandmother moved into a mobile home in the 1990s, and her mother was evicted following her grandmother’s death after the park underwent new management in the late 2000s. After that negative experience, she is worried it could happen to other tenants.
“They need to take into account all these people that they are going to displace if things don’t go the way that the tenants need it to (go),” Essex told San José Spotlight.
Displacement remains a concern for resident Jeffrey Caywood, who grew up in the mobile park. His parents, who moved to the park in 2000, still live there. They are getting older, are happy in the community and don’t plan to move, he said.
“As long as you’re not a property owner, you’re just kind of at the mercy of the management and owners of the park,” Caywood told San José Spotlight.
The San Jose City Council is prioritizing mobile home park residents, said Councilmember David Cohen, whose district includes the Silicon Valley Village. Councilmembers approved a plan more than two years ago to protect mobile home parks by requiring council approval on any closures or attempts to convert the parks into high-density, market-rate housing.
“Mobile home parks are an important component of a comprehensive housing strategy for San Jose,” Cohen told San José Spotlight. “It’s important that we preserve the mobile home parks we have as an affordable option for people.”
Tony Melgerjo said he is optimistic about the park’s new management. Melgerjo, who is disabled and a longtime resident, has family members who live in other nearby mobile home parks.
“I’ve lived here for 12 years so I’ve never had any problem with the area,” Melgerjo told San José Spotlight. “I like this place.”
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