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City Will Help Mobile Home Park Renters
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Facing an audience of mobile home park residents hit by heavy rent increases, Riverbank City Council members promised Monday night they will do whatever they can to help in what has become a fight against Equity LifeStyles (ELS), which owns some 350 mobile home parks across the country including Quail Meadows in Riverbank.

Following Modesto's lead, Riverbank will prepare a rent stabilization ordinance and memorandum of understanding between park owners and space renters. At the same time the city will provide a subsidy for low-income renters from the Riverbank Redevelopment Agency's 20 percent set-aside for affordable housing.

For the long term, city officials will look into purchasing its own land for mobile home parks and selling lots to qualified buyers. They also repeated an offer to help renters refinance their mortgages with low cost or zero cost loans.

Despite the threat of a lawsuit against the city, Mayor Chris Crifasi said he felt it was the duty of local government and all residents to protect its low income and elderly citizens against corporate greed.

"What ELS is doing is horrible and predatory," said Crifasi. "It's a monopoly. It's the responsibility of local government to step in and curtail this. It's capitalism gone crazy."

"It's totally immoral. We have to do something," added councilmember Sandra Benitez, backed by all the council members.