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.Letter to the Editor - by Doug Mayer - Aug. 22, 2004


Fred Grimm's Aug. 17 column, Old lie about 'resistant' mobile homes exposed again, was right on the mark about so-called ''hurricane resistant'' mobile homes. Yet he stops short of calling for a ban on mobile homes in Florida.

As an affordable-housing developer, I realize that the creation of the mobile home was an inexpensive way for low-income people, many of them elderly, to acquire shelter.

However, it is unacceptable to house anyone in a structure that is 21 times more likely to be destroyed in a hurricane like Andrew.

A real solution to this problem will require leadership by the state Legislature to establish:
All current mobile-home residents would be provided temporary subsidized housing while the state takes applications from developers to convert the former mobile-home parks into permanent housing that meets the highest building code in the state -- currently Miami-Dade County's.

Former residents then would be able to purchase new homes with subsidies provided by the Florida Housing Finance Corporation. Typical affordable-housing guidelines call for housing payments not to exceed 30 percent of total household income, so the new homes would be as affordable as the old mobile homes.

This solution would provide former mobile-home owners with an asset that appreciates in value rather than, like an automobile, is worth less the longer you own it.