HILDA (speaking Spanish): NATASHA DEL TORO: Across America, mobile homes provide much-needed affordable housing.
PETRA: Everybody's dream is to have a place that they can call their own.
DEL TORO: But there's a catch.
SARA TERRY: It's about who owns the land.
Most mobile home park residents own their homes, but not the land they live on.
DEL TORO: As rents skyrocket, the communities are fighting back.
"A Decent Home" on America ReFramed.
♪ ♪ CROWD: Four, three, two, one!
BOY: Come on!
(crowd cheers) (dogs barking in distance, birds chirping) ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ (water trickling) PETRA (laughs): Oh, you shot me!
(laughing) I got you back!
(both laughing) PETRA: This is my backyard, I call it my sanctuary.
I love to come here and just take in calmness and just let the rest of the day go.
There's a big bumblebee, look, look, look.
You see the big bumblebee right there?
I open my door and plop down, feel at home, you know?
Take a load off.
You're welcome to come in here any time.
(chuckles) ♪ ♪ Go ahead, Oma's gonna go on this side-- ah, ah, ah!
PETRA: I've raised my children here.
I've made so many memories here for 18 years.
Everybody's dream is to go ahead and have a place that they can call their own.
♪ ♪ (birds chirping, squawking) (sizzling) HILDA (speaking Spanish): LALO (speaking Spanish): HILDA: LALO: HILDA: (dishes clanking) (dog barking) LUZ: Mobile home is not a second-class house.
A mobile home is my home.
It's where we put our energy, our family, our history, our everyday memories.
TERRY: How did you come to live in Denver Meadows?
After being married for so many years, I became a single mom.
And the only way that I can be able to pay and support my daughters be in college was moving from my huge, big house to a different place.
I have the opportunity to buy this house for $10,000.
I won't be able to find an apartment with a big backyard like I have here, with two bedrooms, for no less than $1,600 a month.
(Luz speaking Spanish) ♪ ♪ (laughing, talking in background) LUZ: Mobile homes are homes.
(laughing) And it's the only option for affordable houses.
♪ ♪ (train whistle blowing) TERRY: I've never lived in a mobile home, but housing instability is an issue I know well, and it's why I wanted to tell this story.
I nearly lost my home in the toxic mortgage meltdown of 2008.
Ever since, I've spent more than half of my income on housing.
I belong to the one-third of Americans who spend way more than they can afford on home.
Experts say that's a big red flag.
It's the affordable housing crisis.
There's a landscape of housing in America that we've ignored for years: mobile homes.
They're the largest source of unsubsidized affordable housing in the country.
20 million Americans live in one.
I read about a mobile home park in Silicon Valley, the high-tech region that's one of the most expensive places to live in the United States.
The mobile home park is right next door to Google headquarters.
♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ (TV playing) BARBARA: We would've never thought we were gonna move into a trailer-- never in a million years.
- Probably the most expensive trailer park in the United States.
- (laughing) Definitely the most expensive.
♪ ♪ A little over a year ago, I got a job with Google.
I came out in 2013 to work for Google.
We didn't qualify for any of the, the Section 8 housing, and so-- but we couldn't afford the traditional homes.
The rent was, like, $2,100, uh, for a studio.
So, we were really looking for a place that had enough room.
So, what was left, and that was, that was Santiago Villa.
I depend on my, uh, Social Security to pay all my bills.
STEVE: The mobile home park, it makes moving into a home achievable for us.
For the first time in my life, I have my own home.
There's a house listed in Palo Alto for $64 million.
I mean, $64 million.
Compared to $54,000.
(chuckling): I mean...
But I probably appreciate this maybe more than they appreciate that $64 million house.
♪ ♪ TERRY: There's a catch to this version of the American dream.
It's about who owns the land.
Like the people I've been meeting at Santiago Villa, most mobile home park residents own their homes, but not the land they live on.
They have to pay rent for that: lot rent.
And in most states, park owners can raise those rents almost any time they want to by as much as they want to.
- (talking in background) Every night, the sun sets in those three windows, so I have... Until Google builds their five-story building out there, I have the most splendid sunsets every night.
♪ ♪ BARBARA: The lot lease is really scary, because Google is buying up everything.
BRAD: We're, we're vulnerable to... BARBARA: Vulnerable.
BRAD: ...change, to other people making new decisions that will affect us.
BARBARA: Some pays, like, we'll have to rob Peter to pay Paul.
BRAD: Buy 50% less groceries.
BARBARA: I mean, how many jobs can we work to pay land lease?
- I don't, I don't know what we would do.
That looks delicious.
What's your favorite part?
BARBARA (chuckling): Gravy.
My favorite part is you guys.
(whistling, birds squawking) HILDA (speaking Spanish): LALO (speaking Spanish): HILDA: TERRY (speaking Spanish): HILDA: (train whistle blowing) DAVE PERRY: One thing Aurora has is a lot of land.
And Aurora has a lot of water.
And those two things rule everywhere in the West right now.
Aurora, because it was a military community, and essentially middle-class and White, um, it had a strong conservative bent.
The Republican Party's held power here for, for several decades.
As far as the individuals themselves, you know, that's part of the libertarian Western mentality.
The code of the West is, it's your land and you get to do with it what you will.
♪ ♪ BOB LEGARE: I think in the past, our identity was a suburban city.
Now we've become more of a...
I would call it a, more of a metropolitan city, a diverse city.
We're becoming larger and better.
TERRY: Somebody had told me that Aurora is 60% built out, is that right?
- Uh, I heard about 50% from the Planning Department, out of 160 square miles, that's correct.
TERRY: So, you have 80 square miles.
TERRY: To become what kind of city?
Well, I think the, the opportunities are endless.
American dream, I think, is to, you know, raise your family in a free country, have your kids grow up and get a good education, and then be able to retire and watch your kids and grandkids grow up.
And to be able to afford to do that.
Yeah, I'm a big believer in the dream of this country.
KARA MASON: I do not go to a council meeting at all anymore where I don't see either a developer or somebody from a metro district or, um, somebody from a homebuilder.
They are so interested in the decisions that they are making, whether it be around water, about building lots, about annexations.
My background is commercial real estate.
I've invested in real estate since 1981.
So, the reality is, um, people think that you can stop growth by stopping development, but it, it really doesn't happen.
It just moves to the next area.
(train whistle blowing, crossing signal clanging) ESTHER SULLIVAN: If you look at the landscape of Denver Meadows, you really see the story of mobile home parks across the United States.
They were developed oftentimes on the outside of cities, where land was cheaper and where landlords faced fewer obstacles from city councils.
Denver Meadows is just this little sliver of land that's captured by train tracks on one side, and then newer development to the south and west sides.
So, you can really see the pressures.
♪ ♪ (birds chirping) PETRA: As I was walking my dog, I found one of the two signs, off the beaten path, where nobody really sees it as they're driving by, and a second sign hidden by bushes.
I was looking at it and wondering, what is this public hearing notice?
JEREMY HUBBARD: And the owner of the property wants to rezone the mobile home park.
And as Fox31 Problem Solvers learned, that would force residents out without any compensation.
REPORTER: The property owner is asking Aurora to rezone the 20-acre plot as shops, apartments and offices.
That would mean the hundreds of people who live here would have to leave.
LALO (speaking Spanish): (dog barking) (phone ringing out) SHAWN LUSTIGMAN: Hello?
TERRY: Hi, is this Shawn?
TERRY: Shawn, this is Sara Terry.
I told you I was doing a documentary on mobile home parks and that I'd, I'd check back with you.
LUSTIGMAN: Calling me, and I told you, I'm not going to give you any information.
Why you keep calling me?
TERRY: I haven't kept calling you.
I told you I would call you back.
LUSTIGMAN: I don't care who you are and I have nothing to say to you.
Listen, if you're going to harass me, I'm gonna file a lawsuit.
TERRY: You, I'm sorry, you're gonna do, you're gonna do what?
(phone clicks, line tone beeping) ♪ ♪ REPORTER (speaking Spanish): (Petra cooing) Hello, hi!
(dog barking) Hi, how are you?
PETRA: The land owner wants to sell this land for a high price.
We have no rights, none.
HILDA (speaking Spanish): LALO (speaking Spanish): (chirps) ♪ ♪ (speaking Spanish) That's not easy, it's not like a, "Well, let me put it in the back of my car and I move my house."
We're talking about between $20,000 to $25,000.
TERRY: To move the homes?
- To move the homes.
Minimum wage is $9.30.
Come on, give me a break.
Now the definition of the American dream is to hold on for dear life so somebody doesn't pull the carpet out from under your feet.
LUZ: That's the situation that we have right now in my community.
We have less than a year to move.
With no money saved, with no resources to move our house, and no, no place to move our houses.
♪ ♪ FILM NARRATOR: The American population is becoming increasingly mobile.
A family today might span the continent several times during Dad's working career.
These mobile homes reflect this condition, and they are the fastest-growing segment of the homebuilding industry today.
♪ ♪ TERRY: Mobile homes have had a lot of ups and downs over the decades.
They were housing for the poor in the Great Depression, for defense workers during World War II, and then returning G.Is.
They were starter homes for young couples in the 1950s and '60s.
They were cool, they were hated.
They were the new American dream, they were where trailer trash lived.
As for mobile home parks, most of them started as mom-and-pop businesses.
They got handed down to second and third generations-- until recently.
FRANK ROLFE: Uh, the mobile home park industry is hugely underpriced on rent.
The moms and pops of the world, they hate raising the rent because they befriend their customers, which, hopefully you'll learn in the next three days, you never do that; you don't want to know your customers' names.
You don't want to know anything about 'em.
We just rent land.
Welcome to the Mobile Home Park Boot Camp.
I'm Frank Rolfe.
We'll be together the next three days with one simple goal, and that's to make everybody in here a competent investor.
Uh, at any rate, what we're going to teach you how to do in the class is, we're going to show you how to identify, evaluate, negotiate, perform due diligence on, renegotiate, purchase, turn around, and operate mobile home parks.
Today, we're the sixth-largest owner of mobile home parks.
We own over 160 mobile home parks spread out over about 22 states.
So, we've built that basically one park at a time.
We only own this grass and this concrete and the utility lines.
We don't own this.
So, the very fact that this guy has built something that's totally bizarre is not our issue because he did it, and the guys at the city, good old inspector, he's certainly seen it and never done anything about it.
TERRY: You do these seminars how many times a year?
- We do seminars typically about six, six to eight times a year.
The majority of them come out, like the business model, go back, and then start looking for mobile home parks.
- We get, our typical park right now, we get 50 to 100 calls a week.
So, the affordable housing in every city in America is typically the mobile home park, that's, that's it.
Statistically, right now, a third of the United States population make $30,000 a year or less.
That is kind of the sweet spot of the industry.
(people talking in background) ROLFE: All right, our quick park evaluation system.
This is not in your manual.
It's called the IDEAL system, I-D-E-A-L, system of park evaluation.
This allows you to focus on what's important and not worry about the stuff that's not.
But you'll be shocked and turned off by, for example, the beach towel in the window instead of an actual curtain.
That doesn't mean anything.
What you gotta worry about are the following items: "I" is for infrastructure, "D" is for density, "E" is for a, a guesstimate of the expense to get the park up to where it needs to be, "A" is for the age of the homes, and "L" is for the location.
There's two locations that work with mobile home parks.
There's that gritty, urban kind of deal that you would recoil from, there's, like, an adult bookstore across the street and a liquor store.
That location works really well.
Because there's a lot of folks looking for affordable housing, they actually like that.
♪ ♪ WOMAN: What's going on?
TERRY: How long have you lived here?
- (laughs): Over 20 years.
- I like it.
TERRY: And, and what do you like about living in a mobile home?
- Well, it's all, you know, it's like a little house I could afford, you know, myself.
TERRY: What do you think we should do about the affordable housing crisis?
WOMAN: I don't know, but it seems like when they have a nice piece of prime property, they close up, they build all the houses for rich people.
(chuckles): And, um... Rich people, and no affordable housing for the low-income people.
- So, this, this park would not get any deductions... ROLFE: If we don't keep the rents up to par, then the parks will go away, because there's other things you can do with the land that are higher and better than parks, unless the park's rents are high enough to make it the better option.
TERRY: I mean, you could choose to stay with a mobile home park and just make less money.
- Uh, that is, that is entirely true.
There's no question of that.
(talking in background) CROWD (chanting in Spanish): WOMAN (speaking Spanish): (cheering) We got in touch with a group, um, that's called 9to5, who is helping people nationwide preserve affordable housing.
(speaking Spanish): Fight, fight, fight!
Housing is a human right!
ANDREA CHIRIBOGA-FLOR: We've gotten calls from, um, at least 30 parks across the state.
We see a lot of the same issues: overcharges of water, rent increases, um, parks being bought by huge corporations and then forcing everyone to sign a new lease.
Um, and so, people ask, like, you know, "What do we do?"
For us, the biggest priority is anti-displacement, um, and, and creating avenues for community ownership.
(talking in background) LEGARE: Roll call, please.
MAN: Mayor LeGare.
MAN: Mayor Pro Tem Berzins.
MAN: Council Member Bergan.
MAN: Council Member Gruber.
MAN: Council Member Murillo.
CHIRIBOGA-FLOR: I've been working with residents living at Denver Meadows Mobile Home Park for well over two years.
We're very grateful to hear that the city was able to negotiate with the owner of the park to extend the closure date until the end of February 2019.
We're also here today to ask the city to continue to work with us on creating a permanent solution for Denver Meadows, such as building a new mobile home park.
We would like the city to continue searching for relocation funding in case it is needed as a last resort if the priority to stay in the current park or the creation of a new park is impossible.
So, I would like to ask everyone present to stand if the following applies to you: if you are here in support of Denver Meadows residents.
If you are someone currently seeking stable, affordable housing in Aurora.
If you are in favor of the city of Aurora taking bigger and bolder steps to prevent displacement and provide dignified and affordable housing for those who need it.
We believe community members are the experts of their own lives.
Don't let developers push out the people who built this city.
Do more now before it's too late-- thank you.
LEGARE: So, thank you very much for your comments.
Let the record show that approximately 100 people stood up in, uh, support of your comments that you made.
My name's Shannon Holloman.
It's hard to follow Andrea, I'm gonna be honest with you.
We're your people; please don't give up on us.
(speaking Spanish) - This is the family that I'm fighting for.
We're fighting to, to stay, to stay in our home.
To not worry about, you know, um, kids not being able to go and study, parents having to work more jobs.
Uh, because no duty of this council is more important than serving its working people.
It's these residents who keep this city running and who vote to elect you.
These residents deserve more.
♪ ♪ (people talking in background) JASON LEGG: I started going to resident meetings fall of last year.
They're faced with eviction, losing their homes, losing their chief financial asset.
They're raising young families, they're working all the time.
As a lawyer here, I'm working for the residents.
(people talking in background) LEGG: I'm, I'm nervous to talk, to tell you, because I don't want to get hopes up, because I don't know if they'll come through.
I don't trust them to come through with it, to, to extending the closing of the park.
A part of it's based in state law in Colorado, about when he's allowed to close the park and having to rezone.
And there's an argument that he can't close the park until the rezoning process has been approved or green-lighted formally, and that hasn't happened.
I'm going to continue filing a lawsuit to force that we continue to have the park open, and we can decide the rest of our grievances and fight it out.
Uh, until we have it signed, that's the plan.
I've told them that I think I could wait till the end of this week coming up, next Friday, to file an action in court.
(babies babbling, people talking in background) And I say what you said, we are, I'm ready.
I'm glad to hear you say you're committed to it, because it's gonna be a fight.
LALO (speaking Spanish): LUZ: It, it's not right.
It's not right that one person has everything, and we have nothing, and ready to lose everything.
We deserve better.
TERRY: There's something else you should know about the history of mobile homes.
They actually started out as playthings for the wealthy in the early 1900s.
Rich people were buying cars, and they didn't have any place to stay when they traveled, so they started customizing cars and building coaches to pull along behind them: the first mobile homes.
Over a century later, the wealthy are back in the market again.
Billionaire Sam Zell owns more mobile home parks than anyone in the country.
Billionaire Warren Buffett owns the largest mobile home manufacturer and the two largest lenders.
And then there are the private equity firms: groups of private investors who buy up businesses they think are undervalued, and then squeeze every penny they can from them.
The Carlyle Group, one of the largest private equity firms in the world, bought its first park around 2015.
They set off a buying spree among private equity firms who've been snapping up parks across the country ever since.
("This Land Is Your Land" playing) (crickets chirping) (song continues) (song continues) (talking and laughing) - How are you?
- I'm good.
(talking in background, song ends) CANDI: I found a letter taped to my door that said that Golfview had been purchased by a company, and they didn't give us a name.
It was a couple of days later, a second paper appeared on the door to tell us that it was Havenpark Capital that bought the trailer park and that, um, our rent would be increasing.
Mine would go up by 63%.
- Yeah, let me wash my hands, if I'm gonna handle... (water running) CANDI: I just felt if they treated people like that, that I didn't know if I wanted to stay here.
But I've been here for 21 years.
I have a lot of friends.
I like where I'm at, it, it means something to me.
CINDY: It's for chili dogs.
Plug it in... CINDY: We got a letter from Havenpark.
That was a shocker.
- And it was not a nice letter, either.
It was pretty, uh, blunt, you know, uh... - It was just abrupt.
It wasn't, um, friendly at all.
Uh, I don't even think it was dated.
WOMAN: Hi, Cindy.
CINDY: Hi, how are you?
- Hi, good.
How are you doing?
- Good, good.
JESSE CASE: We wanna welcome everybody for coming out to another Golfview Resident Association block party.
My name's Jesse Case, I'm with the Teamsters Union, which has worked with the Golfview Residents' Association as we've been fighting Havenpark on their vulture business practices, as they're stealing money out of people's pockets to put it in their own corporate coffers.
ETHEL: I did us a little bit of homework on this, and, uh, the, this same company has gone in, they've done the same thing in other areas.
These people that have all this money, they're investing their money and they don't care who they get it from as long as they put more in their pocket.
(chuckles): That's the only way it looks to me!
CINDY: You know, quite frankly, I don't think any, any of us really have been exposed to somebody that's a predator like that, that maybe uses their money and their power to, you know, intimidate people.
This is not right, people can't just come in and raise things up so bad that people can't afford to live.
CANDI: If you were to add up the 50 largest corporate owners across the country, over 680,000 home sites were cutting their monthly lot rent check to a real estate investor and/or a corporation.
It's not just Golfview in North Liberty, Iowa, it's clear across the country.
These are homes.
They're not just lot numbers, they're homes.
A lot of the time you feel angry.
To think that there are people that survive on this and can get up and look themselves in the mirror and feel good about themselves.
Oh, we want to make it really tough for Havenpark.
I mean, we want it, we want it, we want to be in the media all the time.
We, we don't want people to forget that we're here and what they're doing.
I don't care if you're a Democrat or Republican, it doesn't matter.
I mean, it's, it's the moral, right thing to do.
♪ ♪ TERRY: There are some parks where residents have already figured out how to win that fight.
They've been able to buy their parks when an owner wants to sell.
MAN (on radio): Irving Energy.
Heating New England homes for decades.
Visit irvingenergy.com for details.
(radios playing) TERRY: So, how did you all become owners of the park?
MIKE: Well, we just got together because, uh, they was gonna sell the property.
The guy who was actually going to buy them, he was gonna tear it down and do a condominium out of it.
We all got together and decided this would be a good idea, and we had a chance to put our bid in first.
It felt good, you know?
Because we don't have to worry about rent going up unless we all decided.
TERRY: Mike and his neighbors purchased the park for $150,000 in 2016.
They had help from the national nonprofit ROC U.S.A. KATHY: A lot of people just assume because you live in a mobile home or a trailer that you're no good, but that's not true.
I worked two or three jobs all my life.
And you own something, you know?
To live in a mobile home.
But it doesn't mean you're trash.
GEORGE: I've, I've lived in regular houses, and people in trailer parks, I think they're a much tighter group of people.
They're more like family than, you know, people that live in regular, regular homes.
- You know what's missing?
(laughs) ♪ ♪ MIKE: You can't put a person down because of what they can afford.
To me, everybody is equal.
It's just some people have more money than others.
KATHY: You, you just do the best you can and you work hard every day, and you get something to call your own, and that's something everybody should be proud of.
GEORGE: You know, personally, I, I think am living my American dream right now.
It's as simple as that.
♪ ♪ (people talking in background) PETRA: We got in touch with an organization called ROC that helps people that live in mobile home parks purchase the land when it is for sale, which in many ways is great, because once we own the land, we, we don't, um, spend money frivolously or put it in our pockets.
It would be returned to make the park better.
ROC went to the owners of this mobile home park and offered them $18 million for this piece of land, which is above the current value.
They keep turning us down.
(keys jangling, car door shuts) TERRY: Hello.
FAYE CLINE: Hi, good morning.
TERRY: Hi, how are you?
Are you Faye?
TERRY: My name is Sara Terry.
CLINE: No, I don't, I am not interested to talk to you.
TERRY: Oh, can I ask you just one question, then?
CLINE: I don't need to tell you.
TERRY: My question...
I was wondering why you wouldn't take an offer of $18 million for the park.
CLINE: Nobody gave me $18 million offer.
TERRY: But I think that's what they're willing to pay, is what, from my understanding.
CLINE: They willing to pay, it's their problem.
I'm willing to get is my problem.
TERRY: Oh, so you want more money than that?
CLINE: Sure, I want more money.
TERRY: Well, I appreciate your time today, Faye.
CLINE: No problem.
TERRY: Have a good weekend.
CLINE: Same to you.
TERRY: Thank you.
CLINE: So, where do you live?
TERRY: In Los Angeles.
CLINE: Why did you come all the way to Colorado?
TERRY: I'm making the film all over the country.
I, I think mobile home parks are an important part of the answer to the affordable housing crisis.
CLINE: Not if the land belongs to us.
Um, we made an offer to Denver Meadows for $20,500,000.
So, we executed the contract and sent it.
And you can see that the sellers never executed.
He said-- I sent it on the 25th-- he said, "Thank you for your offer, but it, be advised that it's not acceptable to my clients."
A mobile home park on a, you know, a $4 or $5 billion medical campus is not the highest and best use.
Yes, I agree with that.
You know, that, that doesn't make it okay that these families are being displaced, but...
I, I, yeah, I don't, I don't have regrets about it.
LEGG: It's not a coincidence that the mayor, Bob LeGare, and City Councilwoman Marsha Berzins sit on the board of directors for that redevelopment authority, along with a bunch of re, developers and construction C.E.Os.
They're making excuses and just not being genuine about what they want to see happen over there.
They see that as a lucrative area for development, which by necessity means that there's not mobile homes there anymore.
And there's not the people living there anymore.
TERRY: One of the things I've learned is that when someone talks about pressure on the land or best use of the land, what they're really talking about is how to make the most money from a piece of property.
They're not talking about land as a place where people live.
They're not talking about the value of community.
♪ ♪ (dog barking) (wind chimes playing) So, you got a notice that your lot rent was going up by more than 60%, and that you had a new owner.
Did you try to reach out to them?
CANDI: Several times.
It took us almost two months to get a phone number from the management here.
They would not give us a phone number, even.
Someone was able to trace it down, and then Havenpark decided to have a town hall.
CINDY: Well, the meeting also was from 5:30, starting at 5:30 and only an hour.
Well, people don't get off work till 5:00 and go get their kids, and, you know, they couldn't get to the meeting.
Not many of our questions were answered.
I can't think of any right off the top of my head that were.
MAN: Okay, so, uh, first, first person I want to introduce is, uh, Anthony Antonelli, one of Havenpark's co-founders and managing partners.
ANTONELLI: Some of you indicated that you'd like to get to know us better.
So, I'll start off, uh, with my life story.
My dad was one of nine kids.
We were homeless before homeless was popular.
Our big aspiration was to move in to a trailer in a trailer park.
He was trying to get our sympathy, but he then said he was homeless before homeless was popular.
ANTONELLI: And one of the things that I wanted to do was to try to give back.
That's one of the things that's led me into this, uh, arena of manufactured home communities.
In particular, to keep them from disappearing.
He wanted us to know what a good person he was.
He was, uh, riding in on a white horse to save us all, and we should be thankful.
ANTONELLI: We can save this park.
But if we pay this price, what has to happen with the rents?
They, they have to go up to preserve the park.
You see that?
ANTONELLI: Oh, who's, who's gonna make the payment?
WOMAN: Well, you are.
WOMAN: You bought it!
(people talking at once) ANTONELLI: Sounds like some of the, sounds like some of the politicians tonight.
TERRY: Back in Aurora, some of the homeowners have given up and moved out.
But the homeowners who remain at Denver Meadows are still fighting.
They want the city to help them get financial compensation from Shawn, the park owner.
FRAN ÇOISE BERGAN: I really wished the owner would have stepped up to cover the entire cost of, of this, of being part of the solution.
But I also want to say he doesn't have to.
I mean, he, by legal rights, he doesn't have to.
This is not normally a city responsibility.
MURILLO: Sometimes, I find it really just unfathomable that we weren't able to figure out a solution when an outside organization was willing to invest $20.5 million in our community.
When you have to think about, and you're saying, "Where am I going to stay in the next month?
"What are we gonna do in the next month?
Where are my kids going to live in the next month?"
To me, that's just not right.
Especially when the city, and when we, can do something about it.
LEGARE: The reality is, the owner of the park at Denver Meadows wants to close the park, and he has the right to close the park.
It's important to note that this park was gonna close on September 30 of last year.
And it was through my negotiations with, with Shawn that got it extended for another six months.
Um, otherwise, there would have been this massive eviction process last fall, and it would have been very, very...
Unfortunate, I guess, is the, the best word I could use.
LEGG: The problem here that they won't say is, they don't have the political will.
They don't want to challenge this guy's private power.
Um, and they don't want to do that with the business class, generally, or something.
Um, other discussion?
Council Member Berzin.
Everything looks like they want this rezoned, and they want the private property owner to do it.
And he's kind of calling their bluff.
"You want me to handle your dirty work, you're not gonna touch me while I get it done."
TERRY: How have the negotiations gone with Shawn Lustigman?
- Actually, actually, they've gone very well.
And, uh, I'm hoping that within a few days that we would be able to release to you and, and the public an agreement.
LUZ (speaking Spanish): WOMAN (speaking Spanish): TERRY: Why are you not part of the negotiations as the councilperson for that ward?
- (sighs): I don't know.
I mean, to be really honest, at one point, I was in a, the first couple of meetings with the owner and with the mayor and the city management, and I haven't been any, in any since.
TERRY: Why the negotiations with Shawn have not included the councilwoman from that area or representatives from the, the people who live in the park?
It's been you and the city staff.
- Um, I just felt that we would have the best negotiations by keeping it as small as possible.
I actually had something in common with Shawn, and that is my real estate background-- having worked with tenants, having had tenants, having mostly good tenants, but some bad tenants.
I didn't feel that adding, adding another elected official to the mix would be beneficial.
(birds chirping, dishes clanging) (birds chirping) HILDA (speaking Spanish): (chuckling): LALO (speaking Spanish): HILDA (chuckling): ♪ ♪ (chirping) LALO: ♪ ♪ (Lalo speaking Spanish) ♪ ♪ (bird chirping) ♪ ♪ (chirping) (broom sweeping) ♪ ♪ (Hilda laughing) HILDA (laughing): LALO: HILDA: HILDA: Okay.
(train whistle blowing) (birds twittering) All right, so, on this list, I don't have a ton of doors left.
I'm just gonna loop up this street.
Denver Meadows just completely breaks my heart.
Um, we literally have people who, this was their housing opportunity to stay in Aurora and be able to live and work here.
The fact that over $20 million was not adequate to keep folks in their homes is extremely disappointing.
- My name is Alison Coombs.
I'm running for Aurora City Council for Ward V. I've been going to city council meetings, advocating for affordable housing and sustainable development for the last few years, um, and we haven't really seen much movement on those issues.
COOMBS: What happened at Denver Meadows is proof that our city council needs to address issues like affordable housing differently.
And so Juan, Bryan, and I decided to run together as a progressive bloc to bring those kinds of changes.
TERRY: So, it was Denver Meadows that got you interested in city council?
BRYAN LINDSTROM: Yeah, specifically Denver Meadows.
I'm a social studies teacher.
I actually have students who lived in that community.
So I started going to city council, and I'm going in a meeting where person after person is begging for their home, and one of them is a parent to one of my students.
These people matter, Denver Meadows matters, the handful of trailer parks we have left in the city matter.
- My name is Bryan Lindstrom, I'm a teacher here in Aurora, and I'm running for city council.
About 15% of my students deal with unstable housing.
Um, you know, I'm trying to teach history and they don't have their basic needs met.
COOMBS: I don't remember a point in which there wasn't kind of this view that our government was set up in a way to make the rich richer.
- So then it's, like, "Okay, when is, you know, when is it enough?"
When do we say people being able to stay in their homes is more important than more millions of dollars for someone?
- (quietly): I don't know.
COOMBS: I think we're starting to see a tide turning of having moral leadership.
(dog barking) - (laughing): Hi.
You should be getting your ballot either tomorrow... WOMAN: Okay.
- ...or on Tuesday.
JUAN MARCANO: I think that we are absolutely at a crossroads, and I think one direction looks like a place where we continue to divest from the older parts of the city to continue economic segregation.
I think the alternative is that we actually have a city council that puts people first.
If Alison, Bryan, and I win, it'll be the first time that we will have a progressive majority on the Aurora City Council in the city's history.
(glass clinks) (TV playing in background) LUZ: I just had to make the decision that was the best decision for me and, and my family.
That was to move out of my home.
The reality, now that I move to this apartment, my rent is $1,800 a month.
(toy rattling, TV continues) And that's what I now, I have three jobs.
Every single light bulb that is here, every single screw that is here in, in this nice apartment, is not mine.
And in my mobile home, yeah, the, one of the windows was cracked, but it was my window.
(laughs) My glass.
It doesn't matter how small and how "ugly" for some peoples can be.
That mobile home was my home, my home for me and my family.
LEGARE: I have been, uh, uh, in meetings with Shawn Lustigman and, and his, uh, adviser team and his partner, which is Faye, uh, Faye Cline is his, uh, sister.
And he's, he's gone from offering zero dollars to the owners to where we think we're close to $300,000, um, that will be available for them.
TERRY: To the remaining owners.
TERRY: What about the more than 85 families that have moved out?
LEGARE: You know, that's, uh, that's something I'm not gonna be able to address.
Uh, I think we can all look at situations where we decided to do something, and we realized later that if we'd waited a little longer, it would have been better.
(exhales) (inhales deeply) That's... (exhales) Like, why do you get into government if you're a person like that?
What the hell did you think-- I mean, why?
Everyone's in that situation at some point, and just imagine the people with power saying, "That's just," you know, "That's tough luck."
TERRY: Have you talked with him about rezoning?
LEGARE: Uh, yeah, we've talked about rezoning.
That's part of this agreement that we're working on.
- In, in, in what way?
How does it fit into that?
- Well, it takes the zoning off the table.
And he gets his T.O.D.
Hopefully, gets his T.O.D.
It hasn't been promised to him, because we can't, city council can't promise zoning.
TERRY: That deal between Shawn and the mayor did go through.
$300,000 for the 17 families who remain after three years of fighting to save the park.
Nothing for the people who moved out before then.
Denver Meadows closed on May 31, 2019.
Three days later, the city council took up Shawn's request for rezoning.
He stands to make millions.
LEGG: Public hearing and consideration of an ordinance for introduction of the city council of the city of Aurora, Colorado, rezoning 20.41 acres, more or less, for mobile home district and residential agricultural district to transit-oriented development district and amending the zoning map accordingly.
MAN: At the end, there's going to be room for a few additional comments, so... TERRY: I'd really like to know what makes you angry.
(Legg chuckles) (inhales deeply) Greed?
(laughs) I think greed.
Greed and power.
Like, with Shawn, for example, he could have taken $20 million and made a, a ton of money selling the park to the residents, and they would've had somewhere to live.
And it's greed that kept him from doing it.
(man speaking in background) LEGG: Taking as much as you can, I'll be, damn the consequences, you know, uh, is something our government, like, sanctions and facilitates.
And that's kind of, like, what I feel like I'm beating against most as an attorney.
Okay, item 11A... (gavel taps) ...is a public hearing.
We're concerned that if there's not a designated number of affordable units, developers are going to continue to build market-rate housing while destroying the limited number of affordable units that exist.
LEGG: I am opposing the rezoning.
You think back to the underlying reason, the motivation that, in all of our involvement, the residents, uh, coming to you all, is that they didn't want to be displaced and they didn't want to lose homes that they had purchased.
They're not just tenants, but they're homeowners who purchased these homes.
BERGAN: It's private property and the property owner is closing down the park.
This is a rezone.
(speaking Spanish) - What are you going to do with the homes in the 11 parks that are still in Aurora?
I ask you to please not do the rezoning because they're our, our... Our, our homes, our houses.
MAN: Thank you.
LEGARE: Thank you for your comments.
♪ ♪ (talking softly) LUZ: I have nothing to celebrate.
I'm one of the residents on Denver Meadows that, that I lost everything.
Everything means everything.
Every single penny that I have in my, my saving account.
And the reason what I'm here is to ask all of you, we cannot continue displacing people.
LEGARE: Thank you for your comments.
Now I'm gonna call the question on item 11A.
And the motion carries on a vote of six to four with Council Members Johnston, Lawson, Hiltz, and Mu, Murillo voting no.
(talking in background) MAN: Shawn, do you know how much money you're gonna get for the park?
- Between $100 million to $300 million.
(talking in background) ♪ ♪ (birds twittering) PETRA: I lost my home.
I watched Shawn get whatever he wants to.
I watched the worst of the worst.
It doesn't look like home anymore.
It's so naked.
Oh, wow, this is, like, all gone.
♪ ♪ (exhales) Tons of memories are really tied up in my home, and I don't get to go down memory lane.
♪ ♪ (birds twittering) When are the rich rich enough?
♪ ♪ TERRY: Petra's question haunts me.
Who are we becoming as Americans when housing that's on the lowest rung of the American dream is being devoured by the wealthiest of the wealthy?
Private equity firms are notorious for not wanting publicity.
Havenpark Capital doesn't return my phone calls, but I figure it's worth a try to show up in person at their office.
I've got their address.
It's 51 West Center Street, Suite 600, Orem, Utah.
♪ ♪ Havenpark Capital is what I'm looking for.
They must... MAN: So... Because we just have mailboxes here, so if they're an owner of a mailbox, um, that might be the address you're looking for, but they don't have an office.
(birds twittering) CANDI: These people are coming in to make money off of the backs of people that have worked all their lives to have what they do have.
They're the most vulnerable in society in most cases.
And there's people that are taking advantage of this situation, are some of the richest people.
TERRY: So, some people would say, "That's just how capitalism works."
- Treating people fairly is how life works.
MAN: Here tonight, to talk to you about those plans, Iowa City, please join me in giving a big Hawkeye welcome to Senator Elizabeth Warren.
Hello, Iowa City!
(crowd cheering) Um, we've got a problem in America on housing, and it's a problem across America.
♪ ♪ Hello, hello, it's so nice to see you.
- It's been a long time.
WARREN: It has, way too long.
Yeah, it's good to see you.
- This is Cindy Wade.
- It's nice to meet you, Cindy.
- It's good to see you.
(talking in background) A week ago Sunday, I was sitting at the front bench, and he said, "Grandma, you look tired."
I said, "I'm just tired, and I just want to quit, quit."
- Not gonna quit.
He said, "My grandma don't quit."
- (chuckling): Yeah.
- And... - So... - Your grandma's not alone.
- No, no.
- You got your neighbors.
- I got my neighbors.
- That's right.
- And Zach.
- And you've got people who are willing to get into this fight.
That's why Zach is here-- we're gonna do this.
ZACH WAHLS: Yeah, so, currently, in the state of Iowa, you can be evicted without cause from a mobile home park, which is actually very common... - Uh-huh, uh-huh.
- ...in many states across the country.
So, we've heard Havenpark has been busy.
They've been buying more mobile home parks.
There's another company out of Colorado called Impact Communities that's bought several mobile home parks across the state, exact same model; buy it, jack up the rent.
And so we're hoping that we're going to be able to go back to the legislature in January.
Even some of our Republican friends are looking at this and saying, "Boy, that doesn't look fair."
- Uh, and so, theoretically, I, I think it's possible we'll see some change.
But of course, um, it's not over till it's over.
Yeah, you know, people are gonna... Nobody can stay on the sidelines anymore.
This is really about people getting in the fight.
CANDI: And we're gonna win.
WAHLS: You know, mobile home parks could be a part of an effective affordable housing solution so long as they're not being sold under false pretenses.
As long as we don't have out-of-state companies jacking up the rent and making them no longer affordable.
And, and so long as we have the basic protections that are necessary for folks who, who live in these properties to, to call them home.
MAN: Yeah, I mean, I've never been really politically active.
MAN: But I tell you what, when they're coming after me, I guess they kind of forced me into it.
This has been going on for years.
- Oh, gosh, yeah.
- And these hedge funds that come in... - Yup.
- ...they buy up a business.
- And they don't care.
They made their money.
And whatever's left behind is not their problem.
♪ ♪ CANDI: Havenpark Capital stated this: "Our fund invests in stable, high-cash-flowing, "manufactured home communities that provides a generous, "dependable investor yield "while steadily growing investor capital.
"We only acquire properties that generate "a significant target cash flow from day one "and have ample upside opportunities "that will allow us to significantly raise the value and cash flow of the property in any market, good or bad."
It makes your blood boil.
There is no concern about a, saving mobile home parks.
Once again, that proves it.
MAN: You know, it turned out to be a fundraiser.
I, I'm gonna contact... (talking in background) (laughing, talking in background) - Hi.
- Hey, how're you doing?
- I am good, how are you?
- Good to see you.
I need a statement on "I won," statement on "I lost," and statement on "Too close to call" for press releases.
- Because I want all those just written and ready to go.
KRISTEN SEIDEL: We're grassroots people.
We have people on the doors every day.
We have people making phone calls every day.
We are sitting there and we are talking and we are listening.
(talking in background) (applauding) Good morning, everybody!
OTHERS: Good morning!
- Thank you so much for being here.
As has been mentioned, it's been quite a year.
Um, we started out this year with folks underestimating the power of what we could do coming together as a team and fighting for the people of our city.
We are ready to get in there and to make change, and to make change for every one of you and for all the folks that couldn't be here today, for all the folks that we are getting ready to go talk to, to make sure that every single one of them turns in their ballots, has their voices heard, and creates a city that works for all of us.
Thank you-- oh, Alison Coombs, running for Ward V. (applauding, laughing) WOMAN: She has come all the way from Missouri, off of her campaign trail, to be with us here in Colorado.
Miss Cori Bush!
First of all, let me just say, thank you for your work.
Let me start with that.
Because this can be a very thankless job.
And then once you win, it'll be even more thankless.
(laughing) It's time.
The power is in your hands.
Each and every one of you are influential.
Each and every one of you have a platform.
Each and every one of you have a squad.
Each and every one of you are somebody in this community and beyond.
So know what you're influencing and tap into it.
Some of you have thousands, some of you have ten thousands, some of you may have your block.
Whatever you got, we all have something.
Go out there and take it, and let's do this on Tuesday.
(cheering and applauding) When we win, then you sleep.
I'm just calling to make sure that you're able to get your ballot in by tonight.
Please vote, because democracy works when we all participate.
(people talking in background) MAN: Dude.
WOMAN: We have three hours!
Uh, this election's gonna be really close.
Every vote's gonna really matter.
LINDSTROM: There's no way... We've been on phones since, uh, 10:00 this morning.
(talking in background) Every vote counts right now and we have about two hours.
(people talking in background) MAN: Did you receive your ballot?
So should I stop calling people, or just keep going?
- We did everything we could.
(exhales): Thank you, thank you so much.
Françoise is ahead of Bryan.
Juan is down at 44, almost 45%.
Alison is down at 47, and Bryan is down at 41.
WOMAN: That sucks.
MAN: We're gonna, um, head over to, um, the city building.
WOMAN: All right.
We'll see you.
All right, see you.
Hopefully, it gets closer, but we'll see.
That's where it is.
(insects chirping) CANDI: Six months ago, I didn't think I'd be standing here talking to anybody.
(chuckles) Thank you for coming, and thank you for all the support from everybody.
We exposed Havenpark, who is the company that purchased our park, and we put them on the defense.
Our next step in preparing ourselves is to fight for a better state law in the next legislative session.
Some of what we're hoping to gain from this session today is how to deal with these legislators, how to put them on the right track to tell them what we want, what we need to survive, and be a community of our own.
Possibly even to buy our own park.
And, and it, it can't be just one park.
It has to be across the state.
It has to be across the country.
That's so important that we get this out.
(Seidel sighs) ♪ ♪ SEIDEL: Bryan lost, we're very sad.
We still don't know the results for Alison or Juan.
It's kind of a last hope election for change in a lot of ways for Aurora.
We're at the recall point!
Recount, not recall.
- Oh, my God!
Just 21 (muted) votes behind.
21 votes behind, Kristen just said.
- (sighs) SEIDEL: I hate having to hit refresh every 30 seconds.
So stinking close.
(groans): They're killing me!
Oh, my God, you guys, I just need the new numbers.
(sighing) An hour and ten minutes... SEIDEL: Wait, wait, wait, this was a long refresh.
MAN: You got it?
- I don't know, it's still refreshing.
COOMBS: Mine is still refreshing, too.
MAN: That could be it.
COOMBS: No, goddamn-- do we have updates?
Do we have numbers?
- (muted) - What are the numbers?
♪ Oh, my God ♪ - Juan is winning!
- You're at 50.5%!
(cheering, clapping) (laughing hysterically) Juan, where are you?
(all laughing) Oh, (muted), okay.
COOMBS: We gotta go to the S.O.S.
- Get the full one.
Get the full one.
COOMBS: Um... SEIDEL: You are a numbers guy.
(laughing) I'm out of recount range, baby!
- You are, you are out of recount range, as well.
We hit 51%.
They legally cannot pay for a recount.
- We won.
(cheering, laughing) Politics isn't just about rich people moving us around like pawns.
We are taking the reins and we're taking that power for people.
(talking in background) (breathes deeply) A group of Iowa lawmakers from both sides of the aisle are in agreement on the need to strengthen the rights of people who live in mobile home parks.
- State House reporter Caroline Cummings breaks down the sweeping proposal moving through the Iowa House and Senate.
CUMMINGS: The Iowa Manufactured Housing Association is the only group registered against the bill.
They argue the bill imposes overly burdensome regulation on property owners.
TIM COONAN: The provisions in the bill that, that cause us so much, uh, heartburn are so egregious that we have to oppose the bill in its entirety.
The bill also presents an inconsistent approach to what we're trying to do in, in keeping and attracting people to the state.
JODIE MCDOUGALL: The section that I'd like to talk about today is the rent control provision, what we view as overly burdensome regulation.
Um, it doesn't capture the realities of what I see as the market dictating rents and, and doing an okay job with it.
There's a perception that these residents are, are trapped, um, and can't move from their, uh, mobile home community if they, if they want to leave.
Can you-- or I don't know, Jodie, or Tim, if you're speaking for the association-- can one of you please confirm that Frank Rolfe is a member of the Iowa Manufactured Housing Association?
MCDOUGALL: Uh, yeah, he is.
So you said that these are easy to move and it's easy to get out of these rents.
Here's what Frank Rolfe said: "The customers are stuck there.
"They don't have the option.
"They can't afford to move the trailer.
"The only way they can object to your rent raise "is to walk off and leave the trailer, "in which, in which case it becomes abandoned property, "and you recycle it and you can put another person in it.
So you really hold all the cards."
Is it true or is it false that a landlord can evict a resident for any or no reason with 60 days' notice?
- Uh, okay, to address a couple of those, um... WAHLS: Sorry, we've got a limited time.
- Can a landlord evict a resident for any or no reason with 60 days' notice?
- No, because of those provisions I talked about.
- So, they cannot evict... - How many of those evictions took place in Midwest Country Estates in the last month?
- I don't have that information.
We are not just dollar signs on a lot number.
We are a real community, real people, and we're fighting this.
WAHLS: The, the downside of democracy is that wealthy people have huge amounts of power.
And we are struggling today to figure out how to live up to the ideals of the country.
So, first of all, thank you to all of you for taking the time to come here to the Capitol today.
Um, we did get some bad news, uh, that the House Republicans have pulled the bill from the agenda of the House Judiciary Committee this afternoon.
It does not mean that the legislation is dead.
It means that it was not on the agenda for today, but we're hoping that with your support, talking to Chairman Holt, he'll reconsider and put it on the agenda for either today or for tomorrow.
CANDI: Where's his office?
Where's his office?
(talking in background) We have about, I don't know, 30-some people here to talk to him about the bill for manufactured housing.
CANDI: And we want to know where he stands on that.
A lot of us are in fear of losing our homes.
- It's important... - Yup.
- ...that we get some action on this right away.
CINDY: We elect these people to protect us.
I've heard your guys' story, I personally, but I'm not an elected official.
There's not anything that I can do right now.
Um, if you have some information, I can pass it along.
MAN: But it's in the committee process right now.
CINDY: Could you let, uh, Grassley know that we were here?
MAN: I absolutely will.
- And our, and our concerns?
♪ ♪ CANDI: Is Representative Grassley in?
- People said he's not here, so... MAN: He's, he's been in there.
(chuckling): He's downstairs, I saw him in the hallway.
I would say, come on in, we'll talk inside.
...by an instrument, and then Grassley can then knock it down so it doesn't reach the floor.
CANDI: But does Holt have the power to put it back on the table?
MAN: As the committee chairman, he does.
CANDI: But we probably don't speak as loud as the ones that spoke to him and told him to kill it.
Evidently, the right thing to do isn't the most important thing on their mind.
A bill that would've given protection to people who live in mobile homes from price-gouging rent has died in subcommittee this week.
- But as KCRG-TV9's Brian Tabick is learning, that's not stopping some from continuing the fight.
If you don't fight, you can't win.
So, I'm determined to, to... Do what I can to encourage people to fight with me.
♪ ♪ MAN: Next will be Council Member Coombs.
(cheering and applauding) Congratulations.
(cheers and applause fade) Again, it's my great honor to administer the oaths.
So, if you'll please raise your right hand, and repeat after me.
TERRY: If you could talk to somebody who lived at Denver Meadows today... - Mm-hmm.
- ...what would you say?
- Um, I wish that we had already been in office when y'all were going through your whole ordeal.
Um, you know, and we certainly are going to do everything that we can to make sure that there's housing in our city that the working people who live here can actually afford and can live in.
Because you make our city great, um, and we need you.
♪ ♪ LUZ: What I miss most about Denver Meadows.
I don't know where they are.
That hurts not to know that they're okay.
Where are they, they... Maria?
Where is, uh, Connie?
Where is Isabel?
Where are they?
What happened with them?
Do they have money to live?
Do they have money to pay the rents?
I wonder where is everybody else.
♪ ♪ TERRY: What happens next isn't my story.
But it is.
And it's your story, too.
It's about what we call the American dream, and it's about whose dream we're serving these days.
♪ There was a big high wall there ♪ ♪ That tried to stop me ♪ ♪ The sign was painted ♪ ♪ Said private property ♪ ♪ But on the backside ♪ ♪ It didn't say nothing ♪ ♪ This land was made for you and me ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ In the shadow of the steeple ♪ ♪ I saw my people ♪ ♪ By the relief office ♪ ♪ I saw my people ♪ ♪ And as they stood there hungry ♪ ♪ I stood there wondering ♪ ♪ Did God bless this land for you and me ♪ ♪ Nobody living ♪ ♪ Can ever stop me ♪ ♪ As I go walking ♪ ♪ That freedom highway ♪ ♪ Nobody living ♪ ♪ Can make me turn back ♪ ♪ This land was made ♪ ♪ For you and me ♪ ♪ This land is your land ♪ ♪ This land is my land ♪ ♪ From California ♪ ♪ To the New York island ♪ ♪ From the redwood forest ♪ ♪ To the Gulf Stream water ♪ ♪ This land was made for you and me ♪ ♪ ♪ (Woody Guthrie version playing) ♪ As I went walking that ribbon of highway ♪ ♪ I saw above me that endless skyway ♪ ♪ Saw below me that golden valley ♪ ♪ This land was made for you and me ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ I roamed and rambled ♪ ♪ And I followed my footsteps ♪ ♪ To the sparkling sands of her diamond deserts ♪ ♪ All around me a voice was sounding ♪ ♪ This land was made for you and me ♪ ♪ When the sun come shining ♪ ♪ Then I was strolling ♪