By Cassidy Moore & Maddy Alewine
Imagine the fear of knowing that your family and your savings were at risk even locked in your home. This sense of fear was a common response when members of community group PODER EMMA interviewed neighbors about quality of life issues in Emma’s Manufactured Home Parks in 2018. According to a Department of Justice study, “households living in mobile homes were more likely than those living in any other type of housing to experience a burglary.” Almost 1,000 households–or one out of three homes–in the census tract that includes the Emma Neighborhood are manufactured housing and at high risk for home invasion and burglary.
Older manufactured homes, like the ones in Emma, are at particular risk due to poorly-designed door locks (especially on secondary doors) and the lack of effective outdoor lighting. Members of PODER EMMA and staff from Asheville Habitat’s Home Repair team came together to protect manufactured home residents and build community by having a community safety day to install new door security plates and solar-powered, motion-activated lighting.
October 26 was a foggy, damp morning but that didn’t dampen the spirits of Habitat Home Repair and Emma community members from meeting together and enjoying breakfast tamales before getting to work. Volunteers along with our Home Repair staff, installed security improvements for 25 families and trained others to upgrade 75 more homes in the future. Mid-day the community gathered to enjoy a meal prepared by PODER Emma, celebrate this collaboration, and watch a performance by local kids dance troupe RAICES. View photos from the October 26 event.
“It’s really great to spend time working with this community and for Habitat to be able to help with the great work PODER Emma has been doing,” Joel said.
We are grateful to Buncombe County for supporting this initiative, the Safe and Secure Homes Pilot Program, with a Tipping Point grant. This program meets a resident-identified need and brought together two community organizations who are now laying the groundwork for continued collaboration around investment in an often neglected, but significant part of our affordable housing supply.