The second time around Dawn Melgares was ready.

WHEN Town and Country Mobile Home Park sold last year, the executive director of the non-profit San Luis Valley Housing Coalition wasn’t quite sure how to engage in the sale of the mobile home park to ensure it stayed as part of the affordable housing mix. Town and Country sold to Abraham Arrigotti of Living Well Communities based in California.

Arrigotti then set his sights on purchasing Century Mobile Home Park and its 184 spaces, and this time Melgares had her own game plan. She pulled the residents of Century Mobile together into a series of meetings and provided them with their different options for ownership, which included how to work with SLV Housing Coalition on the purchase.

Through the resident meetings, Melgares’ motivation was to “help them and help them keep it affordable,” she told the Alamosa City Council.

It appears it’s Mission Accomplished.

The Alamosa City Council approved up to $1.1 million in gap funding to help the SLV Housing Coalition match the $6.8 million offer that Arrigotti has on the table to purchase Century Mobile Home Park.

All things being equal, residents of the mobile home park have indicated that having SLV Housing Coalition as the new owner would be preferable. With the city now on board in assisting the non-profit housing organization, including helping figure out how to replace the mobile home park’s aging sewer pipes, Melgares can submit the matching offer and Century Mobile residents can have greater control over the cost of their mobile home units.

“The biggest thing is this is driven by the residents of the community. This was their choice,” Melgares said.

“I am proud to sit on a council that once again sees an issue in the community and steps up to address it,” said City Councilor Dawn Krebs.

A 2021 SLV Housing Needs Assessment conducted by Melgares’ non-profit housing group showed Alamosa short around 500 units, from single family to apartment dwellings. It was that study and the reality that Century Mobile Home residents could see higher housing costs through a private owner like Arrigotti’s Living Well Communities that spurred Melgares into action.

“To allow 184 units to go away is wrong,” said City Councilor Charlie Griego in backing Melgares’ request for gap funding.

The puzzle of affordable housing in Alamosa and the San Luis Valley isn’t going away. But at least in this case, the sale of Century Mobile Home Park won’t be adding to the housing problem.