County Weighs in on Affordable Housing Issue

By Mallory Lane

Published 04/01 2014 05:52PM

Updated 04/01 2014 06:02PM

BELLEFONTE, CENTRE COUNTY - It's an issue long debated in Centre County and now, with yet another mobile home park closing in the area, affordable housing concerns are taking center stage, again.

The third and last mobile home park in the State College area will close its doors officially Tuesday and residents have until October 1 to move out.

The issue brings up a lot of questions about the availability of affordable housing in Centre County and Tuesday, commissioners are weighing in.

They said they realize the issue is evolving in the area and various agencies throughout the county are working together to try and solve the problem.

Franklin Manor mobile home park off of North Atherton Street in State College will be the third to close in just over a year. Between three mobile home parks closing and two devastating fires in Bellefonte in State College, about 250 affordable housing units have been lost in the county.

There has been discussion about turning some of the open areas into student housing or other commercial properties.

County commissioners said for developers, it's more about what's marketable than what's needed.

"Hotels and student apartments in the Centre region are the things that make a lot of money, are profitable. Giving housing, or creating housing for low income individuals, is not a profitable enterprise," Commissioner Michael Pipe said. "It's a challenge and I think we can't honestly say we're going to solve affordable housing by waiving a magic wand. It's a partnership. We are improving as a community, but when we'll get to this not being an issue, I don't know."

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